Jeremy Stober, Lewis Fishgold and Benjamin Kuipers. 2009.
Sensor map discovery for developing robots.
Manifold Learning and its Applications, AAAI Fall Symposium Series.


Modern mobile robots navigate uncertain environments using complex compositions of camera, laser, and sonar sensor data. Manual calibration of these sensors is a tedious process that involves determining sensor behavior, geometry and location through model specification and system identification. Instead, we seek to automate the construction of sensor model geometry by mining uninterpreted sensor streams for regularities.

Manifold learning methods are powerful techniques for deriving sensor structure from streams of sensor data. In recent years, the proliferation of manifold learning algorithms has led to a variety of choices for autonomously generating models of sensor geometry. We present a series of comparisons between different manifold learning methods for discovering sensor geometry for the specific case of a mobile robot with a variety of sensors. We also explore the effect of control laws and sensor boundary size on the efficacy of manifold learning approaches.

We find that ``motor babbling'' control laws generate better geometric sensor maps than mid-line or wall following control laws and identify a novel method for distinguishing boundary sensor elements. We also present a new learning method, sensorimotor embedding, that takes advantage of the controllable nature of robots to build sensor maps.


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