A Novel Robust Scene Change Detection Algorithm for Autonomous Robots Using Mixtures of Gaussians

Luis J. Manso, Pedro Núñez, Sidnei da Silva, Paulo Drews-Jr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interest in change detection techniques has considerably increased during recent years in the field of autonomous robotics. This is partly because changes in a robot's working environment are useful for several robotic skills (e.g., spatial cognition, modelling or navigation) and applications (e.g., surveillance or guidance robots). Changes are usually detected by comparing current data provided by the robot's sensors with a previously known map or model of the environment. When the data consists of a large point cloud, dealing with it is a computationally expensive task, mainly due to the amount of points and the redundancy. Using Gaussian Mixture Models (GMM) instead of raw point clouds leads to a more compact feature space that can be used to efficiently process the input data. This allows us to successfully segment the set of 3D points acquired by the sensor and reduce the computational load of the change detection algorithm. However, the segmentation of the environment as a Mixture of Gaussians has some problems that need to be properly addressed. In this paper, a novel change detection algorithm is described in order to improve the robustness and computational cost of previous approaches. The proposal is based on the classic Expectation Maximization (EM) algorithm, for which different selection criteria are evaluated. As demonstrated in the experimental results section, the proposed change detection algorithm achieves the detection of changes in the robot's working environment faster and more accurately than similar approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Article number18
JournalInternational Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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