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Title: Non-parametric workspace modelling for mobile robots using push broom lasers
Author: Smith, Michael
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis is about the intelligent compression of large 3D point cloud datasets. The non-parametric method that we describe simultaneously generates a continuous representation of the workspace surfaces from discrete laser samples and decimates the dataset, retaining only locally salient samples. Our framework attains decimation factors in excess of two orders of magnitude without significant degradation in fidelity. The work presented here has a specific focus on gathering and processing laser measurements taken from a moving platform in outdoor workspaces. We introduce a somewhat unusual parameterisation of the problem and look to Gaussian Processes as the fundamental machinery in our processing pipeline. Our system compresses laser data in a fashion that is naturally sympathetic to the underlying structure and complexity of the workspace. In geometrically complex areas, compression is lower than that in geometrically bland areas. We focus on this property in detail and it leads us well beyond a simple application of non-parametric techniques. Indeed, towards the end of the thesis we develop a non-stationary GP framework whereby our regression model adapts to the local workspace complexity. Throughout we construct our algorithms so that they may be efficiently implemented. In addition, we present a detailed analysis of the proposed system and investigate model parameters, metric errors and data compression rates. Finally, we note that this work is predicated on a substantial amount of robotics engineering which has allowed us to produce a high quality, peer reviewed, dataset - the first of its kind.
Supervisor: Newman, Paul Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Robotics ; Information Engineering ; Electronics ; Mechanical Engineering ; 3D mapping ; range sensing ; Gaussian Process ; mobile robotics ; online representation ; non-stationary ; Iterative Closest Point ; point cloud ; laser ; dataset