An Experimental Study of Robust Distributed Multi-Robot Data Association from Arbitrary Poses
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In this work, we experimentally investigate the problem of computing the relative transformation between multiple vehicles from corresponding interrobot observations during autonomous operation in a common unknown environment. Building on our prior work, we consider an EM-based methodology which evaluates sensory observations gathered over vehicle trajectories to establish robust relative pose transformations between robots. We focus on experimentally evaluating the performance of the approach as well as its computational complexity and shared data requirements using multiple autonomous vehicles (aerial robots). We describe an observation subsampling technique which utilizes laser scan autocovariance to reduce the total number of observations shared between robots. Employing this technique reduces run time of the algorithm significantly, while only slightly diminishing the accuracies of computed inter-robot transformations. Finally, we provide discussion on data transfer and the feasibility of implementing the approach on a mesh network.