Loosely Coupled Odometry, UWB Ranging, and Cooperative Spatial Detections for Relative Monte-Carlo Multi-Robot Localization

Xianjia Yu, Paola Torrico Morón, Sahar Salimpour, Jorge Peña Queralta, Tomi Westerlund

As mobile robots become more ubiquitous, their deployments grow across use cases where GNSS positioning is either unavailable or unreliable. This has led to increased interest in multi-modal relative localization methods. Complementing onboard odometry, ranging allows for relative state estimation, with ultra-wideband (UWB) ranging having gained widespread recognition due to its low cost and centimeter-level out-of-box accuracy. Infrastructure-free localization methods allow for more dynamic, ad-hoc, and flexible deployments, yet they have received less attention from the research community. In this work, we propose a cooperative relative multi-robot localization where we leverage inter-robot ranging and simultaneous spatial detections of objects in the environment. To achieve this, we equip robots with a single UWB transceiver and a stereo camera. We propose a novel Monte-Carlo approach to estimate relative states by either employing only UWB ranges or dynamically integrating simultaneous spatial detections from the stereo cameras. We also address the challenges for UWB ranging error mitigation, especially in non-line-of-sight , with a study on different LSTM networks to estimate the ranging error. The proposed approach has multiple benefits. First, we show that a single range is enough to estimate the accurate relative states of two robots when fusing odometry measurements. Second, our experiments also demonstrate that our approach surpasses traditional methods such as multilateration in terms of accuracy. Third, to increase accuracy even further, we allow for the integration of cooperative spatial detections. Finally, we show how ROS 2 and Zenoh can be integrated to build a scalable wireless communication solution for multi-robot systems. The experimental validation includes real-time deployment and autonomous navigation based on the relative positioning method.