The three-dimensional characterization and mapping of remote environments is an important task that generates a good deal of attention both by end users and by researchers across several fields of interest. In the mobile robotics community, a great deal of work has been done in equipping vehicles with sensors that can acquire three-dimensional and even multimodal information about the location and nature of features and objects in remote environments. However, the interpretation of such data using fully autonomous methods, such as computer vision, is usually a highly complex problem that, we believe, is much better suited to a humanoriented solution.
In this paper, we describe our work in the development of augmented reality (AR) techniques for the telerobotic inspection and characterization of remote environments. We describe how we are using stereoscopic camera feedback from a remote vehicle and equipping the human operator with three-dimensional virtual cursors that can be used to interactively measure and model real features and objects in the remote environment. We include a description of the calibration techniques used to correctly align the real and virtual images both statically and under vehicle and camera motion. We also describe how we are using our system to demonstrate the potential of AR for improving the inspection of underground sewer pipes.