The VIPER Front Page

Visual Position Estimation:
Estimating Position from Outdoor Images

Fabio Cozman
Carlos Ernesto Guestrin

The Basic Idea

The VIPER project aims at building a teleoperation interface which can analyze images sent by a mobile robot in space missions and estimate the position of the robot. Standard teleoperation of mobile robots is a difficult and stressing task; it is well-known that remote drivers get lost easily, despite having maps and visible landmarks. Our goal is to reduce the cognitive load on teleoperators by providing cues that help prevent them getting lost and disoriented.

The basic idea, illustrated by the figure below, follows these steps:

  1. the system receives the images from the rover;
  2. features are extracted from the images and used to estimate the rover's position;
  3. visual cues are overlayed on the images and on the map to aid the user on teleoperation tasks.

We call the system VIPER for VIsual Position EstimatoR.

The Atacama Desert Trek

The VIPER system was selected as a technology to be demonstrated in the Atacama Desert mission. During June and July of 1997, the Nomad robot from Carnegie Mellon University is demonstrating autonomous and teleoperated capabilities by traversing the Atacama desert in Chile. The VIPER system will be in operation during July 7 to 15.

A more detailed diary of this mission is available.

More information about VIPER

Papers on VIPER

Related Information

We have not been able to find much information online about outdoor position estimation, but if you find something, please let us know. There are many excellent printed papers about outdoor localization, about positioning and navigation for space rovers, etc; consult the reference section of our papers for more on that.

This work has been conducted at the Robotics Institute at the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. It has been partially funded by NASA; Fabio Cozman has a scholarship from CNPq (Brazil). We thank these four organizations for all their support.