State estimation is a crucial component for the successful implementation of robotic systems, relying on sensors such as cameras, LiDAR, and IMUs. However, in real-world scenarios, the performance of these sensors is degraded by challenging environments, e.g. adverse weather conditions and low-light scenarios. The emerging 4D imaging radar technology is capable of providing robust perception in adverse conditions. Despite its potential, challenges remain for indoor settings where noisy radar data does not present clear geometric features. Moreover, disparities in radar data resolution and field of view (FOV) can lead to inaccurate measurements. While prior research has explored radar-inertial odometry based on Doppler velocity information, challenges remain for the estimation of 3D motion because of the discrepancy in the FOV and resolution of the radar sensor. In this paper, we address Doppler velocity measurement uncertainties. We present a method to optimize body frame velocity while managing Doppler velocity uncertainty. Based on our observations, we propose a dual imaging radar configuration to mitigate the challenge of discrepancy in radar data. To attain high-precision 3D state estimation, we introduce a strategy that seamlessly integrates radar data with a consumer-grade IMU sensor using fixed-lag smoothing optimization. Finally, we evaluate our approach using real-world 3D motion data.
In this paper, we address the challenging problem of data association for underwater SLAM through a novel method for sonar image correspondence using learned features. We introduce SONIC (SONar Image Correspondence), a pose-supervised network designed to yield robust feature correspondence capable of withstanding viewpoint variations. The inherent complexity of the underwater environment stems from the dynamic and frequently limited visibility conditions, restricting vision to a few meters of often featureless expanses. This makes camera-based systems suboptimal in most open water application scenarios. Consequently, multibeam imaging sonars emerge as the preferred choice for perception sensors. However, they too are not without their limitations. While imaging sonars offer superior long-range visibility compared to cameras, their measurements can appear different from varying viewpoints. This inherent variability presents formidable challenges in data association, particularly for feature-based methods. Our method demonstrates significantly better performance in generating correspondences for sonar images which will pave the way for more accurate loop closure constraints and sonar-based place recognition. Code as well as simulated and real-world datasets will be made public to facilitate further development in the field.
In this paper we present a fully distributed, asynchronous, and general purpose optimization algorithm for Consensus Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (CSLAM). Multi-robot teams require that agents have timely and accurate solutions to their state as well as the states of the other robots in the team. To optimize this solution we develop a CSLAM back-end based on Consensus ADMM called MESA (Manifold, Edge-based, Separable ADMM). MESA is fully distributed to tolerate failures of individual robots, asynchronous to tolerate practical network conditions, and general purpose to handle any CSLAM problem formulation. We demonstrate that MESA exhibits superior convergence rates and accuracy compare to existing state-of-the art CSLAM back-end optimizers.
We consider the problem of learning error covariance matrices for robotic state estimation. The convergence of a state estimator to the correct belief over the robot state is dependent on the proper tuning of noise models. During inference, these models are used to weigh different blocks of the Jacobian and error vector resulting from linearization and hence, additionally affect the stability and convergence of the non-linear system. We propose a gradient-based method to estimate well-conditioned covariance matrices by formulating the learning process as a constrained bilevel optimization problem over factor graphs. We evaluate our method against baselines across a range of simulated and real-world tasks and demonstrate that our technique converges to model estimates that lead to better solutions as evidenced by the improved tracking accuracy on unseen test trajectories.
We consider the problem of learning observation models for robot state estimation with incremental non-differentiable optimizers in the loop. Convergence to the correct belief over the robot state is heavily dependent on a proper tuning of observation models which serve as input to the optimizer. We propose a gradient-based learning method which converges much quicker to model estimates that lead to solutions of much better quality compared to an existing state-of-the-art method as measured by the tracking accuracy over unseen robot test trajectories.
This paper unifies the theory of consistent-set maximization for robust outlier detection in a simultaneous localization and mapping framework. We first describe the notion of pairwise consistency before discussing how a consistency graph can be formed by evaluating pairs of measurements for consistency. Finding the largest set of consistent measurements is transformed into an instance of the maximum clique problem and can be solved relatively quickly using existing maximum-clique solvers. We then generalize our algorithm to check consistency on a group-$k$ basis by using a generalized notion of consistency and using generalized graphs. We also present modified maximum clique algorithms that function on generalized graphs to find the set of measurements that is internally group-$k$ consistent. We address the exponential nature of group-$k$ consistency and present methods that can substantially decrease the number of necessary checks performed when evaluating consistency. We extend our prior work to multi-agent systems in both simulation and hardware and provide a comparison with other state-of-the-art methods.
We present MidasTouch, a tactile perception system for online global localization of a vision-based touch sensor sliding on an object surface. This framework takes in posed tactile images over time, and outputs an evolving distribution of sensor pose on the object's surface, without the need for visual priors. Our key insight is to estimate local surface geometry with tactile sensing, learn a compact representation for it, and disambiguate these signals over a long time horizon. The backbone of MidasTouch is a Monte-Carlo particle filter, with a measurement model based on a tactile code network learned from tactile simulation. This network, inspired by LIDAR place recognition, compactly summarizes local surface geometries. These generated codes are efficiently compared against a precomputed tactile codebook per-object, to update the pose distribution. We further release the YCB-Slide dataset of real-world and simulated forceful sliding interactions between a vision-based tactile sensor and standard YCB objects. While single-touch localization can be inherently ambiguous, we can quickly localize our sensor by traversing salient surface geometries. Project page: https://suddhu.github.io/midastouch-tactile/
Wide-angle cameras are uniquely positioned for mobile robots, by virtue of the rich information they provide in a small, light, and cost-effective form factor. An accurate calibration of the intrinsics and extrinsics is a critical pre-requisite for using the edge of a wide-angle lens for depth perception and odometry. Calibrating wide-angle lenses with current state-of-the-art techniques yields poor results due to extreme distortion at the edge, as most algorithms assume a lens with low to medium distortion closer to a pinhole projection. In this work we present our methodology for accurate wide-angle calibration. Our pipeline generates an intermediate model, and leverages it to iteratively improve feature detection and eventually the camera parameters. We test three key methods to utilize intermediate camera models: (1) undistorting the image into virtual pinhole cameras, (2) reprojecting the target into the image frame, and (3) adaptive subpixel refinement. Combining adaptive subpixel refinement and feature reprojection significantly improves reprojection errors by up to 26.59 %, helps us detect up to 42.01 % more features, and improves performance in the downstream task of dense depth mapping. Finally, TartanCalib is open-source and implemented into an easy-to-use calibration toolbox. We also provide a translation layer with other state-of-the-art works, which allows for regressing generic models with thousands of parameters or using a more robust solver. To this end, TartanCalib is the tool of choice for wide-angle calibration. Project website and code: http://tartancalib.com.
Having accurate localization capabilities is one of the fundamental requirements of autonomous robots. For underwater vehicles, the choices for effective localization are limited due to limitations of GPS use in water and poor environmental visibility that makes camera-based methods ineffective. Popular inertial navigation methods for underwater localization using Doppler-velocity log sensors, sonar, high-end inertial navigation systems, or acoustic positioning systems require bulky expensive hardware which are incompatible with low cost, bio-inspired underwater robots. In this paper, we introduce an approach for underwater robot localization inspired by GPS methods known as acoustic pseudoranging. Our method allows us to potentially localize multiple bio-inspired robots equipped with commonly available micro electro-mechanical systems microphones. This is achieved through estimating the time difference of arrival of acoustic signals sent simultaneously through four speakers with a known constellation geometry. We also leverage the same acoustic framework to perform oneway communication with the robot to execute some primitive motions. To our knowledge, this is the first application of the approach for the on-board localization of small bio-inspired robots in water. Hardware schematics and the accompanying code are released to aid further development in the field3.
This paper presents a method for robust optimization for online incremental Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). Due to the NP-Hardness of data association in the presence of perceptual aliasing, tractable (approximate) approaches to data association will produce erroneous measurements. We require SLAM back-ends that can converge to accurate solutions in the presence of outlier measurements while meeting online efficiency constraints. Existing robust SLAM methods either remain sensitive to outliers, become increasingly sensitive to initialization, or fail to provide online efficiency. We present the robust incremental Smoothing and Mapping (riSAM) algorithm, a robust back-end optimizer for incremental SLAM based on Graduated Non-Convexity. We demonstrate on benchmarking datasets that our algorithm achieves online efficiency, outperforms existing online approaches, and matches or improves the performance of existing offline methods.