Localization from semantic observations via the matrix permanent
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0278364915596589
Most approaches to robot localization rely on low-level geometric features such as points, lines, and planes. In this paper, we use object recognition to obtain semantic information from the robot’s sensors and consider the task of localizing the robot within a prior map of landmarks, which are annotated with semantic labels. As object recognition algorithms miss detections and produce false alarms, correct data association between the detections and the landmarks on the map is central to the semantic localization problem. Instead of the traditional vector-based representation, we propose a sensor model, which encodes the semantic observations via random finite sets and enables a unified treatment of missed detections, false alarms, and data association. Our second contribution is to reduce the problem of computing the likelihood of a set-valued observation to the problem of computing a matrix permanent. It is this crucial transformation that allows us to solve the semantic localization problem with a polynomial-time approximation to the set-based Bayes filter. Finally, we address the active semantic localization problem, in which the observer’s trajectory is planned in order to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the localization process. The performance of our approach is demonstrated in simulation and in real environments using deformable-part-model-based object detectors. Robust global localization from semantic observations is demonstrated for a mobile robot, for the Project Tango phone, and on the KITTI visual odometry dataset. Comparisons are made with the traditional lidar-based geometric Monte Carlo localization.