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Sensors 2013, 13(1), 1247-1267; doi:10.3390/s130101247
Article

An Aerial-Ground Robotic System for Navigation and Obstacle Mapping in Large Outdoor Areas

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Received: 16 October 2012 / Revised: 24 December 2012 / Accepted: 14 January 2013 / Published: 21 January 2013
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Abstract

There are many outdoor robotic applications where a robot must reach a goal position or explore an area without previous knowledge of the environment around it. Additionally, other applications (like path planning) require the use of known maps or previous information of the environment. This work presents a system composed by a terrestrial and an aerial robot that cooperate and share sensor information in order to address those requirements. The ground robot is able to navigate in an unknown large environment aided by visual feedback from a camera on board the aerial robot. At the same time, the obstacles are mapped in real-time by putting together the information from the camera and the positioning system of the ground robot. A set of experiments were carried out with the purpose of verifying the system applicability. The experiments were performed in a simulation environment and outdoor with a medium-sized ground robot and a mini quad-rotor. The proposed robotic system shows outstanding results in simultaneous navigation and mapping applications in large outdoor environments.
Keywords: autonomous navigation; cooperative perception; obstacle avoidance; outdoor mapping; collaborative robotics; UGV; UAV autonomous navigation; cooperative perception; obstacle avoidance; outdoor mapping; collaborative robotics; UGV; UAV
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Garzón, M.; Valente, J.; Zapata, D.; Barrientos, A. An Aerial-Ground Robotic System for Navigation and Obstacle Mapping in Large Outdoor Areas. Sensors 2013, 13, 1247-1267.

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