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Title: Localisation using the appearance of prior structure
Author: Stewart, Alexander D.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Accurate and robust localisation is a fundamental aspect of any autonomous mobile robot. However, if these are to become widespread, it must also be available at low-cost. In this thesis, we develop a new approach to localisation using monocular cameras by leveraging a coloured 3D pointcloud prior of the environment, captured previously by a survey vehicle. We make no assumptions about the external conditions during the robot's traversal relative to those experienced by the survey vehicle, nor do we make any assumptions about their relative sensor configurations. Our method uses no extracted image features. Instead, it explicitly optimises for the pose which harmonises the information, in a Shannon sense, about the appearance of the scene from the captured images conditioned on the pose, with that of the prior. We use as our objective the Normalised Information Distance (NID), a true metric for information, and demonstrate as a consequence the robustness of our localisation formulation to illumination changes, occlusions and colourspace transformations. We present how, by construction of the joint distribution of the appearance of the scene from the prior and the live imagery, the gradients of the NID can be computed and how these can be used to efficiently solve our formulation using Quasi-Newton methods. In order to reliably identify any localisation failures, we present a new classifier using the local shape of the NID about the candidate pose and demonstrate the performance gains of the complete system from its use. Finally, we detail the development of a real-time capable implementation of our approach using commodity GPUs and demonstrate that it outperforms a high-grade, commercial GPS-aided INS on 57km of driving in central Oxford, over a range of different conditions, times of day and year.
Supervisor: Newman, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Vehicle guidance (information eng) ; Information engineering ; Image understanding ; robotics ; navigation ; localisation ; computer vision