Very interesting survey on visual place recognition, including historical background, physio-psychological bases and a definition of “place” in robotics

S. Lowry et al., Visual Place Recognition: A Survey, in IEEE Transactions on Robotics, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 1-19, Feb. 2016. DOI: 10.1109/TRO.2015.2496823.

Visual place recognition is a challenging problem due to the vast range of ways in which the appearance of real-world places can vary. In recent years, improvements in visual sensing capabilities, an ever-increasing focus on long-term mobile robot autonomy, and the ability to draw on state-of-the-art research in other disciplines-particularly recognition in computer vision and animal navigation in neuroscience-have all contributed to significant advances in visual place recognition systems. This paper presents a survey of the visual place recognition research landscape. We start by introducing the concepts behind place recognition-the role of place recognition in the animal kingdom, how a “place” is defined in a robotics context, and the major components of a place recognition system. Long-term robot operations have revealed that changing appearance can be a significant factor in visual place recognition failure; therefore, we discuss how place recognition solutions can implicitly or explicitly account for appearance change within the environment. Finally, we close with a discussion on the future of visual place recognition, in particular with respect to the rapid advances being made in the related fields of deep learning, semantic scene understanding, and video description.

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