Light-weight localization for vehicles using road markings
IEEE Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)
Traditional vision-based localization methods such as visual SLAM suffer from practical problems in outdoor environments such as unstable feature detection and inability to perform location recognition under lighting, perspective, weather and appearance change. Additionally map construction on a large scale in these systems presents its own challenges. In this work, we present a novel method for precisely localizing vehicles on the road using signs marked on the road (road markings), which have the advantage of being distinct and easy to detect, their detection being robust under changes in lighting and weather. Our method uses corners detected on road markings to perform localization in global coordinates. The method consists of two phases - a mapping phase when a high-quality GPS device is used to automatically survey road marks and add them to a light-weight “map” or database, and a localization phase where road mark detection and look-up in the map, combined with visual odometry, produces precise localization. We present experiments using a real-time implementation operating in a car that demonstrates the improved localization robustness and accuracy of our system even when using road marks alone. However, in this case the trajectory between road marks has to be filled-in by visual odometry, which contributes drift. Hence, we also present a mechanism for combining road-mark-based maps with sparse feature-based maps that results in greater accuracy still. We see our use of road marks as a significant step in the general trend of using higher-level features for improved localization performance irrespective of environment conditions.