Håkan Almqvist, Martin Magnusson and Achim J. Lilienthal
Improving Point Cloud Accuracy obtained from a Moving Platform for Consistent Pile Attack Pose Estimation
Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems, Volume 75, pp. 101-128.
Abstract: We present a perception system for enabling automated loading with waist-articulated wheel loaders. To enable autonomous loading of piled materials, using either above-ground wheel loaders or underground load-haul-dump vehicles, 3D data of the pile shape is needed. However, using common 3D scanners, the scan data is distorted while the wheel loader is moving towards the pile. Existing methods that make use of 3D scan data (for autonomous loading as well as tasks such as mapping, localisation, and object detection) typically assume that each 3D scan is accurate. For autonomous robots moving over rough terrain, it is often the case that the vehicle moves a substantial amount during the acquisition of one 3D scan, in which case the scan data will be distorted. We present a study of auto-loading methods, and how to locate piles in real-world scenarios with nontrivial ground geometry. We have compared how consistently eachmethod performs for live scans acquired in motion, and also how the methods perform with different view points and H. Almqvist (B) · M. Magnusson · A. J. Lilienthal Center for Applied Autonomous Sensor Systems (AASS), Örebro University, Orebro, Sweden e-mail: hakan.almqvist@oru.se scan configurations. The system described in this paper uses a novel method for improving the quality of distorted 3D scansmade froma vehiclemoving over uneven terrain. The proposed method for improving scan quality is capable of increasing the accuracy of point clouds without assuming any specific features of the environment (such as planar walls), without resorting to a “stop-scango” approach, and without relying on specialised and expensive hardware. Each new 3D scan is registered to the preceding using the normaldistributions transform (NDT). After each registration, a mini-loop closure is performed with a local, per-scan, graph-based SLAM method. To verify the impact of the quality improvement, we present data that shows how auto-loading methods benefit from the corrected scans. The presented methods are validated on data from an autonomous wheel loader, as well as with simulated data. The proposed scan-correction method increases the accuracy of both the vehicle trajectory and the point cloud. We also show that it increases the reliability of pile-shape measures used to plan an efficient attack pose when performing autonomous loading.
Keywords: 3D perception, Autoloading, Scanning while moving
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  AUTHOR = {Almqvist, H{\aa}kan and Magnusson, Martin and Lilienthal, Achim J.},
  TITLE = {Improving Point Cloud Accuracy obtained from a Moving Platform for Consistent Pile Attack Pose Estimation},
  JOURNAL = {Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems},
  YEAR = {2014},
  VOLUME = {75},
  PAGES = {101--128},