Remotely Operated and Autonomous Mapping System (ROAMS)

ROAMS is an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) developed for generating high resolution 3D maps of indoor and outdoor environments. ROAMS was developed as a prototype vehicle to research remote mapping technologies and algorithms and demonstrate the mapping capabilities of unmanned systems for use in site surveying and mapping of dangerous, hazardous, or hostile areas.

ROAMS utilizes a miniature all-terrain electric vehicle as the mobility platform, a custom made video registered Lidar scanning system for real-time 3D color point cloud generation, and an operator control unit (OCU) for remote operation over long distances. A special map stitching algorithm, which takes advantage of the color information available in the 3D point clouds generated by ROAMS, was developed to enable faster map generation of large scale areas.

ROAMS has been featured on MIT Technology Review & Engadget,

Work on ROAMS was funded by the united states army armament research, development and engineering center (ARDEC)

Video registered 3DOF Lidar scanning system

3D Mapping System

The mapping system is composed of a 2D Lidar scanner and two high resolution, high speed, color video cameras mounted on a 3 degree-of-freedom, gimbal-like, servo actuated mechanism. The mechanism is used to rotate the 2D lidar and cameras around the vehicle to capture a detailed 3D color point cloud of the environment around ROAMS. The 3D color point cloud is generated in real-time and can be visualized by the operator using the OCU during the scanning process.

Example of an Indoor 3D color point cloud generated by ROAMS

Panoramic Image generated by ROAMS during scanning process

Fly through video of 3D color point cloud

Individual scans are stitched together to create maps of large scale environments beyond the scanning range of the Lidar scanner. The figures below show an example point cloud of an outdoor environment composed of 14 individual scans, generated by ROAMS, that are stitched together to form a large scale 3D map of the environment (color indicates height).

Operator Control Unit (OCU)

The OCU allows for remote monitoring and control of all the sensor data and functions of ROAMS from a safe distance and can be configured for use at a base station, on a mobile chase vehicle, or on a portable touchscreen computer.

OCU Configurations

Video of OCU during indoor driving test