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Localizing Ground Penetrating RADAR: A Step Towards Robust Autonomous Ground Vehicle Localization

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Journal Article

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MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States

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Autonomous ground vehicles navigating on road networks require robust and accurate localization over long-term operation and in a wide range of adverse weather and environmental conditions. GPSINS inertial navigation system solutions, which are insufficient alone to maintain a vehicle within a lane, can fail because of significant radio frequency noise or jamming, tall buildings, trees, and other blockage or multipath scenarios. LIDAR and camera map-based vehicle localization can fail when optical features become obscured, such as with snow or dust, or with changes to gravel or dirt road surfaces. Localizing ground penetrating radar LGPR is anew mode of a priori map-based vehicle localization designed to complement existing approaches with a low sensitivity to failure modes of LIDAR, camera, and GPSINS sensors due to its low-frequency RF energy, which couples deep into the ground. Most subsurface features detected are inherently stable over time. Significant research, discussed herein, remains to prove general utility. We have developed a novel low-profile ultra-low power LGPR system and demonstrated real-time operation underneath a passenger vehicle. A correlation maximizing optimization technique was developed to allow real-time localization at 126 Hz. Here we present the detailed design and results from highway testing, which uses a simple heuristic for fusing LGPR estimates with a GPSINS system. Cross-track localization accuracies of 4.3 cm RMS relative to a truth RTK GPSINS unit at speeds up to 100 kmh 60 mph are demonstrated. These results, if generalizable, introduce a widely scalable real-time localization method with cross-track accuracy as good as or better than current localization methods.

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  • Active and Passive Radar Detection and Equipment

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