The use of aerial images and GPS for Mobile Robot Waypoint Navigation

The application of aerial and satellite imagery for mobile robot path planning and navigation has shown potential in recent years. These uses vary from identifying terrain properties for creating traversability maps to extracting landmarks for autonomous navigation. With the freely available differential positioning system WAAS/EGNOS, the use of the Global Positioning System with aerial images providing valuable contextual data, demonstrates potential in waypoint-based navigation of mobile robots. However, important issues relating to the spatial accuracies of image, waypoint and GPS derived data, vital for obtaining accurate navigation results, are often overseen. This paper defines the causes of spatial inaccuracies in order to develop optimal waypoint navigation parameters and provides researchers with sufficient knowledge to reproduce similar results. An improvement of up to 48% in the number of waypoints reached, depending on the radius, was determined for the positional correction of the GPS. The reader is presented with a method for easily creating waypoints from aerial images, yielding results to a similar level of accuracy to conventional and often tedious manual methods. The results are shown with a simulated synchronous drive robot in Matlab’s Simulink®environment.