Particle Source Localization with a Low-Cost Robotic Sensor System: Algorithmic Design and Performance Evaluation

In this paper we tackle the problem of finding the source of particulate matter with a mobile robot equipped with a low-cost multi-channel optical particle counting sensor. The proposed method is based on the Infotaxis odor source localization algorithm and makes multiple modifications to adapt it to particle plumes. In particular, we propose three simple but efficient ways to fuse multiple probability maps associated with various particle sizes and use the resulted integrated map to guide the robot’s movements. A refined measurement data collection is conducted in a wind tunnel to fit the particle plume model. The method with three proposed integration strategies is evaluated in simulation and in the wind tunnel emulating realistic environmental conditions in a repeatable fashion. In particular, we have investigated the impact of two environmental parameters - the wind speed and source release rate on the algorithm performance. The proposed algorithm with the weighted multi-modality map integration strategy outperforms the original Infotaxis and the other two variants. In high wind speed, the proposed algorithm is able on average to estimate the source location with less than 1 meter error in the 80 m2 wind tunnel arena.

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IEEE Sensors Journal, [Early Access]
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 Record created 2020-09-11, last modified 2020-10-26

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