Automatic Landmark Detection for Topological Mapping Using Bayesian Surprise
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Topological maps are graphical representations of the environment consisting of nodes that denote landmarks, and edges that represent the connectivity between the landmarks. Automatic detection of landmarks, usually special places in the environment such as gateways, in a general, sensor-independent manner has proven to be a difficult task. We present a landmark detection scheme based on the notion of “surprise” that addresses these issues. The surprise associated with a measurement is defined as the change in the current model upon updating it using the measurement. We demonstrate that surprise is large when sudden changes in the environment occur, and hence, is a good indicator of landmarks. We evaluate our landmark detector using appearance and laser measurements both qualitatively and quantitatively. Part of this evaluation is performed in the context of a topological mapping algorithm, thus demonstrating the practical applicability of the detector.