In the fields of autonomous vehicles, virtual reality and three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction, 2D laser rangefinders have been widely employed for different purposes, such as localization, mapping, and simultaneous location and mapping. However, the extrinsic calibration of multiple 2D laser rangefinders is a fundamental prerequisite for guaranteeing their performance. In contrast to existing calibration methods that rely on manual procedures or suffer from low accuracy, an automatic and high-accuracy solution is proposed in this paper for the extrinsic calibration of 2D laser rangefinders. In the proposed method, a mobile sphere is used as a calibration target, thereby allowing the automatic extrapolation of a spherical center and the automatic matching of corresponding points. Based on the error analysis, a matching machine of corresponding points with a low error is established with the restriction constraint of the scan circle radius, thereby achieving the goal of high-accuracy calibration. Experiments using the Hokuyo UTM-30LX sensor show that the method can increase the extrinsic orientation accuracy to a sensor intrinsic accuracy of 10 mm without requiring manual measurements or manual correspondence among sensor data. Therefore, the calibration method in this paper is automatic, highly accurate, and highly effective, and it meets the requirements of practical applications.
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