Localization with limited sensing

Jason M. O'Kane, Steven M. LaValle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Localization is a fundamental problem for many kinds of mobile robots. Sensor systems of varying ability have been proposed and successfully used to solve the problem. This paper probes the lower limits of this range by describing three extremely simple robot models and addresses the active localization problem for each. The robot, whose configuration is composed of its position and orientation, moves in a fully-known, simply connected polygonal environment. We pose the localization task as a planning problem in the robot's information space, which encapsulates the uncertainty in the robot's configuration. We consider robots equipped with: 1) angular and linear odometers; 2) a compass and contact sensor and; 3) an angular odometer and contact sensor. We present localization algorithms for models 1 and 2 and show that no algorithm exists for model 3. An implementation with simulation examples is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-716
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Information spaces
  • Mobile robot localization
  • Robot sensing systems
  • Robots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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