Recursive decentralized localization for multi-robot systems with asynchronous pairwise communication

Lukas Luft, Tobias Schubert, Stergios I. Roumeliotis, Wolfram Burgard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper provides a fully decentralized algorithm for collaborative localization based on the extended Kalman filter. The major challenge in decentralized collaborative localization is to track inter-robot dependencies, which is particularly difficult when sustained synchronous communication between the robots cannot be guaranteed. Current approaches suffer from the need for particular communication schemes, extensive bookkeeping of measurements, overly conservative assumptions, or the restriction to specific measurement models. This paper introduces a localization algorithm that is able to approximate the inter-robot correlations while fulfilling all of the following conditions: communication is limited to two robots that obtain a relative measurement, the algorithm is recursive in the sense that it does not require storage of measurements and each robot maintains only the latest estimate of its own pose, and it supports generic measurement models. The fact that the proposed approach can handle these particularly difficult conditions ensures that it is applicable to a wide range of multi-robot scenarios. We provide mathematical details on our approximation. Extensive experiments carried out using real-world datasets demonstrate the improved performance of our method compared with several existing approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1152-1167
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Robotics Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work has been partially supported by the European Commission under ERC-AG-PE7-267686-LIFENAV, the Graduate School of Robotics in Freiburg, and the State Graduate Funding Program of Baden-Württemberg.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • Collaborative localization
  • cross-correlation
  • extended Kalman filter
  • multi-robot systems
  • over-confidence

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