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Optimization Based Coverage Path Planning for Autonomous 3D Data Acquisition

Lindner, Silvan

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The demand for 3D models that represent real-world objects such as structures and buildings has increased in recent years. It is becoming increasingly important that the reconstructions are not only visually convincing but also feature high geometric accuracy. This includes, for example, the fields of civil engineering, terrestrial surveying and archeology, where precise measurements are made in the models for documentation and analysis purposes. There are different approaches to create such a reconstruction. The photogrammetric method Structure from Motion and laser scanning are among the most widely used methods here, as they do not require a complicated setup and can be used for scenarios at small to large scale. Recent developments are enabling unmanned robotic systems, especially sensor mounted UAVs, to assist in the recording of areas which are otherwise difficult to observe. The demand for a high geometric accuracy, however, comes at the expense of high computational complexity of up to several days. Hence, especially real-time reconstructions are unfeasible, such that recording and reconstruction procedure must be executed consecutively. The resulting model quality, i.e. completeness and accuracy, is only assessable afterwards. Since it is often difficult or even impossible to improve these models with additional measurements afterwards, methods that ensure a reliable acquisition of sufficient data is required.

In this thesis we develop new methods and theory that address this problem for the mentioned sensor types. For both, a probabilistic description of the expected surface reconstruction error is maintained cost-efficiently as an estimate for the model quality during the recording procedure. For image sensors this is realized by incrementally constructing confidence ellipsoids that describe the information obtained from all views. With depth sensors the surface quality is described by the variance of a Gaussian process implicit surface regression fit to point cloud data using polyharmonic kernel functions. Sensor poses are then assessed by the information they add to the subsequent reconstruction up to a desired geometric accuracy using a formulation that is motivated from Optimal Experimental Design. This quantity is further used in an iterative next-best-view selection framework as a subproblem of a coverage path planning problem.

The general formulations presented in this thesis enables a wide range of applications, such as offline and online view planning or various autonomous robot systems under consideration of dynamic and geometric constraints. We present the first multi-view coverage path planning approach, specifically targeted at autonomous Structure from Motion data acquisition. Its correctness is validated in simulation using the physics simulator Gazebo. Furthermore, we lay a foundation for similar applications with depth sensors. All presented algorithms were developed with scalability in mind and show promising results regarding real-time usability.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Mombaur, Prof. Dr. Katja
Place of Publication: Heidelberg
Date of thesis defense: 8 June 2020
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2020 12:23
Date: 2020
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science > Dean's Office of The Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science
Subjects: 510 Mathematics
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