Robust Autonomy in Complex Environments

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We design algorithms, optimization methods, and control systems that help mobile robots achieve robust autonomy in complex physical environments. Specific goals include improving the reliability of autonomous navigation for unmanned underwater, ground and aerial vehicles subjected to noise-corrupted and drifting sensors, incomplete knowledge of the environment, and tasks that require interaction with surrounding objects and structures. Recent work has considered sensing tasks motivated by underwater surveillance and inspection applications, autonomous exploration under sparse and noisy data, and path planning with multiple objectives, unreliable sensors, and imprecise maps.

  


  

Top: Lab members complete a training session with our underwater robot, the VideoRay Pro4 Remotely-Operated Vehicle. Bottom: Bench-testing our Clearpath Jackal unmanned ground vehicle after a field experiment in Hoboken's Pier A Park.

Recent News:


3D Mapping Code Release - The Learning-Aided 3D Mapping Library (LA3DM)


We have released our Learning-Aided 3D Mapping (LA3DM) Library, which includes our implementations of Gaussian process occupancy mapping (GPOctoMap - Wang and Englot, ICRA 2016) and Bayesian generalized kernel occupancy mapping (BGKOctoMap - Doherty, Wang and Englot, ICRA 2017). We encourage you to download our library from GitHub.


Autonomous Navigation with Jackal UGV


 

We have developed terrain traversability mapping and autonomous navigation capability for our LIDAR-equipped Clearpath Jackal Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV). More details to follow soon! For now, stay tuned to Tixiao Shan's YouTube channel for further updates.

ROS Package for 3D Mapping with a Hokuyo UTM-30LX Laser Rangefinder




We have released a new ROS package to produce 3D point clouds using a Hokuyo UTM-30LX scanning laser rangefinder and a Dynamixel MX-28 servo. Please visit the ROS wiki page for the package spin_hokuyo for more information on how to download, install, and run our software. The authors and maintainers of this package are Sarah Bertussi and Paul Szenher.


3D Exploration ROS Package for Turtlebot


 

We have released a 3D autonomous exploration ROS package for the TurtleBot! Please visit the ROS wiki page for the package turtlebot_exploration_3d for more information on how to download, install, and run our software.

Recent Underwater Localization and 3D Mapping Results


 

We recently visited Pier 84 in Manhattan to test our algorithms for underwater localization and 3D mapping, supported by a single-beam scanning sonar. See above for a summary of our results from this field experiment.

Moved to a New Laboratory Facility

  



Our lab recently relocated to the ABS Engineering Center, a newly renovated facility at Stevens that will support interdisciplinary research and education in civil, mechanical, and naval engineering. Our lab sits in the former location of Tank 2, a 75' square rotating arm basin that was built in 1942, whose walls still form the perimeter of the facility. 

At top: A photo of the ABS Engineering Center, with the entrance to the Robust Field Autonomy Lab at bottom center. The former rotating arm of Tank 2 is visible at top.

At bottom: Members of the lab at the ABS Engineering Center's grand opening in November 2016.