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Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, or SLAM, is required for mobile robots to be able to explore prior unknown space without a global positioning reference. While multiple robots can achieve the exploration task more quickly, this benefit comes with the cost of added complexity. Probabilistic occupancy grid maps from multiple agents must be merged in real-time without any prior knowledge of their relative transformation. In addition, the probabilistic information of the maps must be accounted for and fused accordingly. In this paper, a probabilistic version of the Generalized Voronoi Diagram (GVD), called the PGVD, is used to determine the relative transformation between maps and fuse them. The new method is effective for finding relative transformations quickly and reliably. In addition, the novel approach accounts for all map uncertainties in the fusion process.
Date of Conference: 7-12 Oct. 2012