Estimating the Absolute Position of a Mobile Robot Using Position Probability Grids

Wolfram Burgard, Dieter Fox, Daniel Hennig, Timo Schmidt

In order to re-use existing models of the environment mobile robots must be able to estimate their position and orientation in such models. Most of the existing methods for position estimation are based on special purpose sensors or aim at tracking the robot’s position relative to the known starting point. This paper describes the position probability grid approach to estimating the robot’s absolute position and orientation in a metric model of the environment. Our method is designed to work with standard sensors and is independent of any knowledge about the starting point. It is a Bayesian approach based on certainty grids. In each cell of such a grid we store the probability that this cell refers to the current position of the robot. These probabilities are obtained by integrating the likelihoods of sensor readings over time. Results described in this paper show that our technique is able to reliably estimate the position of a robot in complex environments. Our approach has proven to be robust with respect to inaccurate environmental models, noisy sensors, and ambiguous situations.


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