Adaptive-Resolution Gaussian Process Mapping for Efficient UAV-based Terrain Monitoring

Abstract

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are rapidly gaining popularity in a variety of environmental monitoring tasks. A key requirement for autonomous operation is the ability to perform efficient environmental mapping and path planning online, given their limited on-board resources constraining operation time and computational capacity. To address this, we present an adaptive-resolution approach for terrain mapping based on the Nd-tree structure and Gaussian Processes (GPs). Our approach enables retaining details in areas of interest using higher map resolutions while compressing information in uninteresting areas at coarser resolutions to achieve a compact map representation of the environment. A key aspect of our approach is an integral kernel encoding spatial correlation of 2D grid cells, which enables merging uninteresting grid cells in a theoretically sound way. Results show that our approach is more efficient in terms of time and memory consumption without compromising on mapping quality. The resulting adaptive-resolution map accelerates the on-line adaptive path planning as well. Both performance enhancement in mapping and planning facilitate the efficiency of autonomous environmental monitoring with UAVs.

Publication
In arXiv
Liren Jin
Liren Jin
PhD candidate
Julius Rückin
Julius Rückin
PhD candidate
Marija Popović
Marija Popović
Junior Research Group Leader