In this paper, we analyzed the accuracy and precision of AprilTag as a visual fiducial marker in detail. We have analyzed error propagation along two horizontal axes along with the effect of angular rotation about the vertical axis. We have identified that the angular rotation of the camera (yaw angle) about its vertical axis is the primary source of error that decreases the precision to the point where the marker system is not potentially viable for sub-decimeter precise tasks. Other factors are the distance and viewing angle of the camera from the AprilTag. Based on these observations, three improvement steps have been proposed. One is the trigonometric correction of the yaw angle to point the camera towards the center of the tag. Second, the use of a custom-built yaw-axis gimbal, which tracks the center of the tag in real-time. Third, we have presented for the first time a pose-indexed probabilistic sensor error model of the AprilTag using a Gaussian Processes based regression of experimental data, validated by particle filter tracking. Our proposed approach, which can be deployed with all three improvement steps, increases the system’s overall accuracy and precision by manifolds with a slight trade-off with execution time over commonly available AprilTag library. These proposed improvements make AprilTag suitable to be used as precision localization systems for outdoor and indoor applications.
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