We present an approach for estimating a mobile robot’s pose w.r.t. the allocentric coordinates of a network of static cameras using multi-view RGB images. The images are processed online, locally on smart edge sensors by deep neural networks to detect the robot and estimate 2D keypoints defined at distinctive positions of the 3D robot model. Robot keypoint detections are synchronized and fused on a central backend, where the robot’s pose is estimated via multi-view minimization of reprojection errors. Through the pose estimation from external cameras, the robot’s localization can be initialized in an allocentric map from a completely unknown state (kidnapped robot problem) and robustly tracked over time. We conduct a series of experiments evaluating the accuracy and robustness of the camera-based pose estimation compared to the robot’s internal navigation stack, showing that our camerabased method achieves pose errors below 3 cm and 1° and does not drift over time, as the robot is localized allocentrically. With the robot’s pose precisely estimated, its observations can be fused into the allocentric scene model. We show a realworld application, where observations from mobile robot and static smart edge sensors are fused to collaboratively build a 3D semantic map of a ∼240 m2 indoor environment.



Simon Bultmann, Raphael Memmesheimer, and Sven Behnke. External Camera-based Mobile Robot Pose Estimation for Collaborative Perception with Smart Edge Sensors in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), London, UK, June 2023.


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