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State estimation with auto-calibrated sensor setup

Tid: Fr 2024-03-08 kl 13.00

Plats: F3 (Flodis), Lindstedtsvägen 26 & 28, Stockholm

Videolänk: https://kth-se.zoom.us/s/63372097801

Språk: Engelska

Ämnesområde: Elektro- och systemteknik

Respondent: Sandipan Das , Teknisk informationsvetenskap

Opponent: Universitetslektor Isaac Skog,

Handledare: Saikat Chatterjee, ACCESS Linnaeus Centre, Teknisk informationsvetenskap

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QC 20240213


Localization and mapping is one of the key aspects of driving autonomously in unstructured environments. Often such vehicles are equipped with multiple sensor modalities to create a 360o sensing coverage and add redundancy to handle sensor dropout scenarios. As the vehicles operate in underground mining and dense urban environments the Global navigation satellite system (GNSS) is often unreliable. Hence, to create a robust localization system different sensor modalities like camera, lidar and IMU are used along with a GNSS solution. The system must handle sensor dropouts and work in real-time (~15 Hz), so that there is enough computation budget left for other tasks like planning and control. Additionally, precise localization is also needed to map the environment, which may be later used for re-localization of the autonomous vehicles as well. Finally, for all of these to work seamlessly, accurate calibration of the sensors is of utmost importance.

In this PhD thesis, first, a robust system for state estimation that fuses measurements from multiple lidars and inertial sensors with GNSS data is presented. State estimation was performed in real-time, which produced robust motion estimates in a global frame by fusing lidar and IMU signals with GNSS components using a factor graph framework. The proposed method handled signal loss with a novel synchronization and fusion mechanism. To validate the approach extensive tests were carried out on data collected using Scania test vehicles (5 sequences for a total of ~ 7 Km). An average improvement of 61% in relative translation and 42% rotational error compared to a state-of-the-art estimator fusing a single lidar/inertial sensor pair is reported.  

Since precise calibration is needed for the localization and mapping tasks, in this thesis, methods for real-time calibration of the sensor setup is proposed. First, a method is proposed to calibrate sensors with non-overlapping field-of-view. The calibration quality is verified by mapping known features in the environment. Nevertheless, the verification process was not real-time and no observability analysis was performed which could give us an indicator of the analytical traceability of the trajectory required for motion-based online calibration. Hence, a new method is proposed where calibration and verification were performed in real-time by matching estimated sensor poses in real-time with observability analysis. Both of these methods relied on estimating the sensor poses using the state estimator developed in our earlier works. However, state estimators have inherent drifts and they are computationally intensive as well. Thus, another novel method is developed where the sensors could be calibrated in real-time without the need for any state estimation.