Section: Research Program
Scene modeling and understanding
Long-term mapping has received an increasing amount of attention during last years, largely motivated by the growing need to integrate robots into the real world wherein dynamic objects constantly change the appearance of the scene. A mobile robot evolving in such a dynamic world should not only be able to build a map of the observed environment at a specific moment, but also to maintain this map consistent over a long period of time. It has to deal with dynamic changes that can cause the navigation process to fail. However updating the map is particularly challenging in large-scale environments. To identify changes, robots have to keep a memory of the previous states of the environment and the more dynamic it is, the higher will be the number of states to manage and the more computationally intensive will be the updating process. Mapping large-scale dynamic environments is then particularly difficult as the map size can be arbitrary large. Additionally, mapping many times the whole environment is not always possible or convenient and it is useful to take advantages of methods using only a small number of observations.
A recent trend in robotic mapping is to augment low-level maps with semantic interpretation of their content, which allows to improve the robot’s environmental awareness through the use of high-level concepts. In mobile robot navigation, the so-called semantic maps have already been used to improve path planning methods, mainly by providing the robot with the ability to deal with human-understandable targets.