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Real-time Neural Dense Elevation Mapping for Urban Terrain with Uncertainty Estimations

by   Bowen Yang, et al.
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Having good knowledge of terrain information is essential for improving the performance of various downstream tasks on complex terrains, especially for the locomotion and navigation of legged robots. We present a novel framework for neural urban terrain reconstruction with uncertainty estimations. It generates dense robot-centric elevation maps online from sparse LiDAR observations. We design a novel pre-processing and point features representation approach that ensures high robustness and computational efficiency when integrating multiple point cloud frames. A Bayesian-GAN model then recovers the detailed terrain structures while simultaneously providing the pixel-wise reconstruction uncertainty. We evaluate the proposed pipeline through extensive simulation and real-world experiments. It demonstrates efficient terrain reconstruction with high quality and real-time performance on a mobile platform, which further benefits the downstream tasks of legged robots. (See for more details.)


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