In autonomous robotics, the right inputs reveal the right path. Each day the University of Waterloo’s WAVELab Research Group navigates these waters as they work out the best ways to help robot commanders get their mecha-assistants from point A to point B without the use of manual controls. And for them, the most precise way to achieve this is with the help of an OptiTrack™ motion capture system.
Professor Steven Waslander began WAVELab’s autonomous vehicle program with the traditional measurement tools of the field: IMU sensors, gyroscopes, onboard GPS. These devices gave real time estimates that stabilized his squadron of aerial and ground rovers, but failed to deliver the control needed to prevent those same vehicles from veering off into hazardous areas like walls. To address this problem, Waslander increased his state estimation system’s scope by enlisting the input of an 18 camera OptiTrack tracking system.