Mobile Robot Localisation and Mapping in Extensive Outdoor Environments
This thesis addresses the issues of scale for practical implementations of simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) in extensive outdoor environments. Building an incremental map while also using it for localisation is of prime importance for mobile robot navigation but, until recently, has been confined to small-scale, mostly indoor, environments. The critical problems for large-scale implementations are as follows. First, data association--- finding correspondences between map landmarks and robot sensor measurements---becomes difficult in complex, cluttered environments, especially if the robot location is uncertain. Second, the information required to maintain a consistent map using traditional methods imposes a prohibitive computational burden as the map increases in size. And third, the mathematics for SLAM relies on assumptions of small errors and near-linearity, and these become invalid for larger maps.