Incremental sparse GP regression for continuous-time trajectory estimation and mapping

Xinyan Yan, Vadim Indelman, Byron Boots

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent work on simultaneous trajectory estimation and mapping (STEAM) for mobile robots has used Gaussian processes (GPs) to efficiently represent the robot's trajectory through its environment. GPs have several advantages over discrete-time trajectory representations: they can represent a continuous-time trajectory, elegantly handle asynchronous and sparse measurements, and allow the robot to query the trajectory to recover its estimated position at any time of interest. A major drawback of the GP approach to STEAM is that it is formulated as a batch trajectory estimation problem. In this paper we provide the critical extensions necessary to transform the existing GP-based batch algorithm for STEAM into an extremely efficient incremental algorithm. In particular, we are able to vastly speed up the solution time through efficient variable reordering and incremental sparse updates, which we believe will greatly increase the practicality of Gaussian process methods for robot mapping and localization. Finally, we demonstrate the approach and its advantages on both synthetic and real datasets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-132
Number of pages13
JournalRobotics and Autonomous Systems
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Continuous time
  • Gaussian process regression
  • Localization
  • SLAM
  • State estimation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Computer Science Applications


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