In this paper, we describe experiments on semi-autonomous control of a small urban robot. Three driving modes allow semiautonomous control ofthe robot through video imagery, or by using partial maps ofthe envircmmait.
Performance is analyzed in terms of maximum speed, terrain roughness, environmental conditions, and ease of control. We concentrate the discussion on a driving mode based on visual servoing. In this mode, a template designated in an image is tracked as the robot moves toward the destination designated by the operator. Particular attention is given to the robustness of the tracking with respect to template selection, computational resources, occlusions, and rough motion. The discussion of algorithm performance is based on experiments conducted at Ft. Sam Houston, TX, on Jul. 5-9 1999. In addition to the driving modes themselves, the perfonnance and practicality of an omnidirectional imaging sensor is discussed. In particular, we discuss the typical imaging artifacts due to ambiit lighting.