LIDAR and stereo combination for traversability assessment of off-road robotic vehicles
Reliable assessment of terrain traversability using multi-sensory input is a key issue for driving automation, particularly when the domain is unstructured or semi-structured, as in natural environments. In this paper, LIDAR-stereo combination is proposed to detect traversable ground in outdoor applications. The system integrates two self-learning classifiers, one based on LIDAR data and one based on stereo data, to detect the broad class of drivable ground. Each single-sensor classifier features two main stages: an adaptive training stage and a classification stage. During the training stage, the classifier automatically learns to associate geometric appearance of 3D data with class labels. Then, it makes predictions based on past observations. The output obtained from the single-sensor classifiers are statistically combined in order to exploit their individual strengths and reach an overall better performance than could be achieved by using each of them separately. Experimental results, obtained with a test bed platform operating in rural environments, are presented to validate and assess the performance of this approach, showing its effectiveness and potential applicability to autonomous navigation in outdoor contexts.