Jari P. Saarinen, Henrik Andreasson, Todor Stoyanov and Achim J. Lilienthal
3D Normal Distributions Transform Occupancy Maps: An Efficient Representation for Mapping in Dynamic Environments
Proc. International Journal of Robotics Research
Abstract: In order to enable long-term operation of autonomous vehicles in industrial environments numerous challenges need to be addressed. A basic requirement for many applications is the creation and maintenance of consistent 3D world models. This article proposes a novel 3D spatial representation for online real-world mapping, building upon two known representations: normal distributions transform (NDT) maps and occupancy grid maps. The proposed normal distributions transform occupancy map (NDT-OM) combines the advantages of both representations; compactness of NDT maps and robustness of occupancy maps. One key contribution in this article is that we formulate an exact recursive updates for NDT-OMs. We show that the recursive update equations provide natural support for multi-resolution maps. Next, we describe a modification of the recursive update equations that allows adaptation in dynamic environments. As a second key contribution we introduce NDT-OMs and formulate the occupancy update equations that allow to build consistent maps in dynamic environments. The update of the occupancy values are based on an efficient probabilistic sensor model that is specially formulated for NDT-OMs. In several experiments with a total of 17 hours of data from a milk factory we demonstrate that NDT-OMs enable real-time performance in large-scale, long-term industrial setups.
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@ARTICLE{Saarinen_etal:IJRR:2013,
  AUTHOR = {Saarinen, Jari P. and Andreasson, Henrik and Stoyanov, Todor and Lilienthal, Achim J.},
  TITLE = {3D Normal Distributions Transform Occupancy Maps: An Efficient Representation for Mapping in Dynamic Environments},
  JOURNAL = {The International Journal of Robotics Research},
  YEAR = {2013},
  NOTE = {to appear},
  DOI = {10.1177/0278364913499415}
}