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Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

Georges Petitpas and Armon Shariati

Lehigh Mapping Trike

Departments: Computer Science and Engineering
Advisor: John Spletzer

Among the many challenges outdoor navigation poses, robust localization is one of the most difficult problems to solve. Until recently, most solutions rely on SLAM algorithms because of a widely held notion that outdoor environments are simply too large to map a priori. However, this conclusion has been proven incorrect time again as many large companies, such as Google, routinely deploy custom mapping vehicles that can efficiently gather vast amounts of data in even the most remote locations. The Lehigh Mapping Trike (LMT) project was motivated by the lack of means to construct large-scale, three-dimensional maps in outdoor pedestrian zones as required for The Smart Wheelchair Project, another VADER Laboratory research project. The LMT features 3 Sick LMS219 LIDARs, GPS, encoders, an inertial measurement unit, and onboard computing. Sensor data are fused using SLAM algorithms to maintain an accurate localization estimate, and scans from the vertically scanning LIDARs are registered to the vehicle's position over time. The resulting point clouds are then synthesized off-line into maps before being uploaded to the cloud where they can be downloaded by client robots to augment navigation capabilities.

About Georges Petitpas:
Georges Petitpas is currently a senior at Lehigh University, studying a major in Computer Engineering and a minor in Economics. Originally born in Chicago, IL in 1992, Georges has lived in Redmond, WA since 1996. At Lehigh, Georges has held leadership roles in a variety of groups on campus, including Residence Hall Association, Student Senate, Lehigh Peer Tutoring Program, and his fraternity, Delta Upsilon. He has also worked at the VADER Laboratory, where he worked on the Robot Stock Car Autonomous Racing project, and in software development roles at Space Systems Loral, a satellite manufacturing firm in Palo Alto, and Apptio Inc., a 500 person software startup in Bellevue, WA. Georges has a great deal of passion for software applications, which he plans to continue to pursue in his job starting this fall at Apptio. When not working, Georges enjoys hiking, skiing, mountain biking, travelling, and running half marathons.

About Armon Shariati:
Armon Shariati is an undergraduate research assistant working under Professor John Spletzer in the Vision, Assistive Devices, and Experimental Robotics Laboratory. His research interests include mapping and computer vision. He has two publications at internationally recognized conferences and journals with Professor Spletzer and fellow researchers at VADER Lab. Armon has also spent time collaborating with other researchers in the field of robotics including Professor Camillo Taylor at the University of Pennyslvania's GRASP Laboratory. Armon will receive his B.S. degree in Computer Engineering in May 2015, and continue his education as a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.