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Volume 20 Issue 02 - Publications Date: 1 February 2001
 
Classification of Textured Surfaces for Robot Navigation Using Continuous Transmission Frequency-Modulated Sonar Signatures
 
Z. Politis University of Oxford, Oxford, UK and P.J. Probert Smith
 
Whereas in the past ultrasonic sensors have been largely used only to estimate the proximity of objects and the location and identification of primitive targets in a robot workspace, the development of biomimetic sonar has opened up new possibilities for their application. Broadband sonar echoes have sufficient resolution so that characteristics on reflection, especially geometry and texture, can be distinguished with only a few measurements. In this paper, we describe how a model of texture can be used to distinguish between a number of different surfaces using only a single measurement of each, showing results on a number of surfaces that might be considered typical pathways for a mobile robot, both those with periodicity in pattern and those with statistically homogeneous features. In particular, we consider textures corresponding to hard smooth floors, carpets and asphalts, and surfaces with a repeating pattern made up of tiles. Each rough surface class is modeled using an extension of the Kirchhoff approximation method describing the scattering of the acoustic wave on the surface while the periodic ones are modeled assuming distinctive reflections from the tile borders. The continuous transmission frequency-modulated sonar signature corresponding to each class is derived and compared with the experimental one. A set of features is extracted that exploits the differences between the surface models, and a hierarchical classification scheme is proposed for recognition.
 
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