Why semantics matters: A deep study on semantic particle-filtering localization in a LiDAR semantic pole-map

Yuming Huang, Yi Gu, Chengzhong Xu, Hui Kong

In most urban and suburban areas, pole-like structures such as tree trunks or utility poles are ubiquitous. These structural landmarks are very useful for the localization of autonomous vehicles given their geometrical locations in maps and measurements from sensors. In this work, we aim at creating an accurate map for autonomous vehicles or robots with pole-like structures as the dominant localization landmarks, hence called pole-map. In contrast to the previous pole-based mapping or localization methods, we exploit the semantics of pole-like structures. Specifically, semantic segmentation is achieved by a new mask-range transformer network in a mask-classfication paradigm. With the semantics extracted for the pole-like structures in each frame, a multi-layer semantic pole-map is created by aggregating the detected pole-like structures from all frames. Given the semantic pole-map, we propose a semantic particle-filtering localization scheme for vehicle localization. Theoretically, we have analyzed why the semantic information can benefit the particle-filter localization, and empirically it is validated on the public SemanticKITTI dataset that the particle-filtering localization with semantics achieves much better performance than the counterpart without semantics when each particle's odometry prediction and/or the online observation is subject to uncertainties at significant levels.

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