Due to GPS restrictions, an inertial sensor is usually used to estimate the location of indoor mobile robots. However, it is difficult to achieve high-accuracy localization and control by inertial sensors alone. In this paper, a new method is proposed to estimate an indoor mobile robot pose with six degrees of freedom based on an improved 3D-Normal Distributions Transform algorithm (3D-NDT). First, point cloud data are captured by a Kinect sensor and segmented according to the distance to the robot. After the segmentation, the input point cloud data are processed by the Approximate Voxel Grid Filter algorithm in different sized voxel grids. Second, the initial registration and precise registration are performed respectively according to the distance to the sensor. The most distant point cloud data use the 3D-Normal Distributions Transform algorithm (3D-NDT) with large-sized voxel grids for initial registration, based on the transformation matrix from the odometry method. The closest point cloud data use the 3D-NDT algorithm with small-sized voxel grids for precise registration. After the registrations above, a final transformation matrix is obtained and coordinated. Based on this transformation matrix, the pose estimation problem of the indoor mobile robot is solved. Test results show that this method can obtain accurate robot pose estimation and has better robustness
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