Non-Metrical Navigation Through Visual Path Control

Unknown author (2008-06-06)

We describe a new method for wide-area, non-metrical robot navigationwhich enables useful, purposeful motion indoors. Our method has twophases: a training phase, in which a human user directs a wheeledrobot with an attached camera through an environment while occasionallysupplying textual place names; and a navigation phase in which theuser specifies goal place names (again as text), and the robot issueslow-level motion control in order to move to the specified place. We show thatdifferences in the visual-field locations and scales of features matched acrosstraining and navigation can be used to construct a simple and robust controlrule that guides the robot onto and along the training motion path.Our method uses an omnidirectional camera, requires approximateintrinsic and extrinsic camera calibration, and is capable of effective motioncontrol within an extended, minimally-prepared building environment floorplan.We give results for deployment within a single building floor with 7 rooms, 6corridor segments, and 15 distinct place names.