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Vehicle Localization by Matching Triangulated Point Patterns

, and . Proceedings of the 17th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (ACM-GIS'09), November 4-6, 2009, Seattle, WA, USA, page 344--351. (2009)


We consider the problem of localizing a moving vehicle based on landmarks that were detected with a vehicle-mounted sensor. Landmarks are represented as points; correspondences of these points with the ones in a reference database are searched based on their geometric configurations. More specifically, we triangulate the landmark points and we match the obtained triangles with triangles in a reference database according to their geometric similarity. We maximize the number of triangle matches while considering the topological relations between different triangles, for example, if two triangles share an edge then the corresponding reference triangles must share an edge. Our method exploits that the observed points typically form a certain configuration: They appear at a limited distance from the vehicle's trajectory, thus the typical point pattern has a large extent in the driving direction and a relatively small lateral extent. This characteristic allows us to triangulate the observed point set such that we obtain a triangle strip (a sequence of triangles) in which each two consecutive triangles share one edge and each triangle connects three points that are relatively close to each other, that is, the triangle strip appropriately defines a neighborhood relationship for the landmarks. The adjacency graph of the triangles becomes a path; this allows for an efficient solution of our matching problem by dynamic programming. We present results of our method with data acquired with a mobile laser scanning system. The landmarks are objects of cylindric shape, for example, poles of traffic signs, which can be easily detected with the employed sensor. We tested the method with respect to its running time and its robustness when imposing different types of errors on the data. In particular, we tested the effect of non-rigid distortions of the observed point set, which are typically encountered during dead reckoning. Our matching approach copes well with such errors since it is based on local similarity measures of triangles, that is, we do not assume that a global non-rigid transformation between the observed point set and the reference point set exists.

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