Spatial Learning and Localization in Animals: A Computational Model and Its Implications for Mobile Robots
The ability to acquire a representation of spatial environment and the ability to localize within it are essential for successful navigation in a-priori unknown environments. The hippocampal formation is believed to play a key role in spatial learning and navigation in animals. This paper briefly reviews the relevant neurobiological and cognitive data and their relation to computational models of spatial learning and localization used in mobile robots. It also describes a hippocampal model of spatial learning and navigation and analyzes it using Kalman filter based tools for information fusion from multiple uncertain sources. The resulting model allows a robot to learn a place-based, metric representation of space in a-priori unknown environments and to localize itself in a stochastically optimal manner. The paper also describes an algorithmic implementation of the model and results of several experiments that demonstrate its capabilities.