OVPC Mesh: 3D Free-space Representation for Local Ground Vehicle Navigation

Fabio Ruetz, Emili Hernández, Mark Pfeiffer, Helen Oleynikova, Mark Cox, Thomas Lowe, Paulo Borges

This paper presents a novel approach for local 3D environment representation for autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) navigation called On Visible Point Clouds Mesh(OVPC Mesh). Our approach represents the surrounding of the robot as a watertight 3D mesh generated from local point cloud data in order to represent the free space surrounding the robot. It is a conservative estimation of the free space and provides a desirable trade-off between representation precision and computational efficiency, without having to discretize the environment into a fixed grid size. Our experiments analyze the usability of the approach for UGV navigation in rough terrain, both in simulation and in a fully integrated real-world system. Additionally, we compare our approach to well-known state-of-the-art solutions, such as Octomap and Elevation Mapping and show that OVPC Mesh can provide reliable 3D information for trajectory planning while fulfilling real-time constraints.

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