Autonomous exploration to build a map of an unknown environment is a fundamental robotics problem. However, the quality of the map directly influences the quality of subsequent robot operation. Instability in a simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) system can lead to poorquality maps and subsequent navigation failures during or after exploration. This becomes particularly noticeable in consumer robotics, where compute budget and limited field-of-view are very common. In this work, we propose (i) the concept of lighthouses: panoramic views with high visual information content that can be used to maintain the stability of the map locally in their neighborhoods and (ii) the final stabilization strategy for global pose graph stabilization. We call our novel exploration strategy SLAM-aware exploration (SAE) and evaluate its performance on real-world home environments.
Active perception describes a broad class of techniques that couple planning and perception systems to move the robot in a way to give the robot more information about the environment. In most robotic systems, perception is typically independent of motion planning. For example, traditional object detection is passive: it operates only on the images it receives. However, we have a chance to improve the results if we allow planning to consume detection signals and move the robot to collect views that maximize the quality of the results. In this paper, we use reinforcement learning (RL) methods to control the robot in order to obtain images that maximize the detection quality. Specifically, we propose using a Decision Transformer with online fine-tuning, which first optimizes the policy with a pre-collected expert dataset and then improves the learned policy by exploring better solutions in the environment. We evaluate the performance of proposed method on an interactive dataset collected from an indoor scenario simulator. Experimental results demonstrate that our method outperforms all baselines, including expert policy and pure offline RL methods. We also provide exhaustive analyses of the reward distribution and observation space.