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 Making 3D Maps on the Move

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Date posted: 18/11/2009

ROAMS (Remotely Operated and Autonomous Mapping System) was created by researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, with funding from the U.S. Army. It uses several existing mapping technologies to build 3D color maps of its surroundings, and it was demonstrated at the 2009 IEEE conference on Technologies for Practical Robot Applications in Woburn, MA last week.

The system uses LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), which involves bouncing a laser off a rapidly rotating mirror and measuring how the light bounces back from surrounding surfaces and objects. The same technology is already used to guide autonomous vehicles, to make aerial maps, and in spacecraft landing systems.

A conventional 3D LIDAR system, which consists of several lasers pointing in different directions, costs over $100,000. The Stevens researchers created a cheaper mapping system by mounting a commercial 2D LIDAR sensor, which costs about $6,000, on a pivoting, rotating framework atop the vehicle. While the system has a lower resolution than a regular 3D LIDAR, it could still be used for low-cost architectural surveying and map making in military situations, the researchers say. "The prototype system is around $15,000 to $20,000," says Biruk Gebre, a research engineer at Stevens who demonstrated the device.

The system takes about 30 seconds to scan a 160-meter-wide area.

See the full Story via external site: www.technologyreview.com



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