Robotics: Science and Systems III

Map-Based Precision Vehicle Localization in Urban Environments

Jesse Levinson, Michael Montemerlo, and Sebastian Thrun

Abstract: Many urban navigation applications (e.g., autonomous navigation, driver assistance systems) can benefit greatly from localization with centimeter accuracy. Yet such accuracy cannot be achieved reliably with GPS-based inertial guidance systems, specifically in urban settings. We propose a technique for high-accuracy localization of moving vehicles that utilizes maps of urban environments. Our approach integrates GPS, IMU, wheel odometry, and LIDAR data acquired by an instrumented vehicle, to generate high-resolution environment maps. Offline relaxation techniques similar to recent SLAM methods [2, 10, 13, 14, 21, 30] are employed to bring the map into alignment at intersections and other regions of self-overlap. By reducing the final map to the flat road surface, imprints of other vehicles are removed. The result is a 2-D surface image of ground reflectivity in the infrared spectrum with 5cm pixel resolution. To localize a moving vehicle relative to these maps, we present a particle filter method for correlating LIDAR measurements with this map. As we show by experimentation, the resulting relative accuracies exceed that of conventional GPS-IMU-odometry-based methods by more than an order of magnitude. Specifically, we show that our algorithm is effective in urban environments, achieving reliable real-time localization with accuracy in the 10-centimeter range. Experimental results are provided for localization in GPS-denied environments, during bad weather, and in dense traffic.



    AUTHOR    = {J. Levinson and M. Montemerlo and S. Thrun},
    TITLE     = {Map-Based Precision Vehicle Localization in Urban Environments},
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems},
    YEAR      = {2007},
    ADDRESS   = {Atlanta, GA, USA},
    MONTH     = {June},
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2007.III.016}