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Measurement and correction of systematic odometry errors in mobile robots

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2 Author(s)
Borenstein, J. ; Adv. Technol. Lab., Michigan Univ., Ann Arbor, MI, USA ; Liqiang Feng

Odometry is the most widely used method for determining the momentary position of a mobile robot. This paper introduces practical methods for measuring and reducing odometry errors that are caused by the two dominant error sources in differential-drive mobile robots: 1) uncertainty about the effective wheelbase; and 2) unequal wheel diameters. These errors stay almost constant over prolonged periods of time. Performing an occasional calibration as proposed here will increase the odometric accuracy of the robot and reduce operation cost because an accurate mobile robot requires fewer absolute positioning updates. Many manufacturers or end-users calibrate their robots, usually in a time-consuming and nonsystematic trial and error approach. By contrast, the method described in this paper is systematic, provides near-optimal results, and it can be performed easily and without complicated equipment. Experimental results are presented that show a consistent improvement of at least one order of magnitude in odometric accuracy (with respect to systematic errors) for a mobile robot calibrated with our method

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Robotics and Automation, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:12 ,  Issue: 6 )