Episodic Non-Markov Localization: Reasoning About Short-Term and Long-Term Features
Markov localization and its variants are widely used for localization of mobile robots. These methods assume Markov independence of observations, implying that observations made by a robot correspond to a static map. However, in real human environments, observations include occlusions due to unmapped objects like chairs and tables, and dynamic objects like humans. We introduce an episodic non-Markov localization algorithm that maintains estimates of the belief over the trajectory of the robot while explicitly reasoning about observations and their correlations arising from unmapped static objects, moving objects, as well as objects from the static map. Observations are classified as arising from long-term features, short-term features, or dynamic features, which correspond to mapped objects, unmapped static objects, and unmapped dynamic objects respectively. By detecting time steps along the robot's trajectory where unmapped observations prior to such time steps are unrelated to those afterwards, non-Markov localization limits the history of observations and pose estimates to “episodes” over which the belief is computed. We demonstrate non-Markov localization in challenging real world indoor and outdoor environments over multiple datasets, comparing it with alternative state-of-the-art approaches, showing it to be robust as well as accurate.