Motion planners for humanoid robots require knowledge of all available surfaces in the environment with which the robot may make contact. We introduce a method to automatically detect these surfaces in real time in unknown environments. The system maintains a set of known planar surfaces, expressed as two dimensional polygons, and detects new surfaces and new areas of existing surfaces as the robot moves through the environment. The only required inputs are data from commonly available sensors and a small set parameters which depend only on the characteristics of the robot and sensor. In real-world environments, Surface Detection detects an initial set of surfaces within 1.5 seconds, and the average time to detect a newly-visible surface is less than two seconds.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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