After utilizing robots for more than 30 years for classic industrial automation applications, service robots form a constantly increasing market, although the big breakthrough is still awaited. Our approach to service robots was driven by the idea of supporting lab personnel in a biotechnology laboratory. After initial development in
Germany, a mobile robot platform extended with an industrial manipulator and the necessary sensors for indoor localization and object manipulation, has been shipped to Bayer HealthCare in Berkeley, CA, USA, a global player in the sector of biopharmaceutical products, located in the San Francisco bay area. The determined goal of the mobile manipulator is to support the off-shift staff to carry out completely autonomous or guided, remote
controlled lab walkthroughs, which we implement utilizing a recent development of our computer vision group: OpenTL - an integrated framework for model-based visual tracking.
In this paper we propose a general, object-oriented software architecture for model-based visual tracking. The library is general purpose with respect to object model, estimated pose parameters, visual modalities employed, number of cameras and objects, and tracking methodology. The base class structure provides the necessary building blocks for implementing a wide variety of both known and novel tracking systems, integrating different visual modalities, like as color, motion, edge maps etc., in a multi-level fashion, ranging from pixel-level segmentation, up to local features matching and maximum-likelihood object pose estimation. The proposed structure allows integrating known data association algorithms for simultaneous, multiple object tracking tasks, as well as data fusion techniques for robust, multi-sensor tracking; within these contexts, parallelization of each tracking algorithm can as well be easily accomplished. Application of the proposed architecture is demonstrated through the definition and practical implementation of several tasks, all specified in terms of a self-contained description