Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Computer and Information Science

First Advisor

Camillo J. Taylor


Autonomous mobile robots today still lack the necessary understanding of indoor environments for making informed decisions about the state of the world beyond their immediate field of view. As a result, they are forced to make conservative and often inaccurate assumptions about unexplored space, inhibiting the degree of performance being increasingly expected of them in the areas of high-speed navigation and mission planning. In order to address this limitation, this thesis explores the use of Building Information Models (BIMs) for providing the existing ecosystem of local and global planning algorithms with informative compact higher-level representations of indoor environments. Although BIMs have long been used in architecture, engineering, and construction for a number of different purposes, to our knowledge, this is the first instance of them being used in robotics. Given the technical constraints accompanying this domain, including a limited and incomplete set of observations which grows over time, the systems we present are designed such that together they produce BIMs capable of providing explanations of both the explored and unexplored space in an online fashion. The first is a SLAM system that uses the structural regularity of buildings in order to mitigate drift and provide the simplest explanation of architectural features such as floors, walls, and ceilings. The planar model generated is then passed to a secondary system that then reasons about their mutual relationships in order to provide a water-tight model of the observed and inferred freespace. Our experimental results demonstrate this to be an accurate and efficient approach towards this end.

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