Topological simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM): Toward exact localization without explicit localization

Howie Choset, Keiji Nagatani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

480 Citations (Scopus)


One of the critical components of mapping an unknown environment is the robot's ability to locate itself on a partially explored map. This becomes challenging when the robot experiences positioning error, does not have an external positioning device, nor the luxury of engineered landmarks placed in its free space. This paper presents a new method for simultaneous localization and mapping that exploits the topology of the robot's free space to localize the robot on a partially constructed map. The topology of the environment is encoded in a topological map; the particular topological map used in this paper is the generalized Voronoi graph (GVG), which also encodes some metric information about the robot's environment, as well. In this paper, we present the low-level control laws that generate the GVG edges and nodes, thereby allowing for exploration of an unknown space. With these prescribed control laws, the GVG (or other topological map) can be viewed as an arbitrator for a hybrid control system that determines when to invoke a particular low-level controller from a set of controllers all working toward the high-level capability of mobile robot exploration. The main contribution, however, is using the graph structure of the GVG, via a graph matching process, to localize the robot. Experimental results verify the described work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-137
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Exploration
  • Localization
  • Mapping
  • Mobile robots
  • Motion planning
  • Tologoical maps
  • Voronoi diagrams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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