Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 May 2015
Visual Homing is a navigation method based on comparing a stored image of a goal location to the current image to determine how to navigate to the goal location. It is theorized that insects such as ants and bees employ visual homing techniques to return to their nest or hive, and inspired by this, several researchers have developed elegant robot visual homing algorithms. Depth information, from visual scale, or other modality such as laser ranging, can improve the quality of homing. While insects are not well equipped for stereovision, stereovision is an effective robot sensor. We describe the challenges involved in using stereovision derived depth in visual homing and our proposed solutions. Our algorithm, Homing with Stereovision (HSV), utilizes a stereo camera mounted on a pan-tilt unit to build composite wide-field stereo images and estimate distance and orientation from the robot to the goal location. HSV is evaluated in a set of 200 indoor trials using two Pioneer 3-AT robots showing it effectively leverages stereo depth information when compared to a depth from scale approach.