Each year, Microsoft hosts a competition for the latest and greatest indoor localization tech. (Think of it as a DARPA challenge for indoor SLAM.) Kaarta, last year’s winner, just won the competition for a second time with their best-yet accuracy score for a handheld indoor laser scanner.
A bit of background. The competition, which pits entrants from the public and private sectors against one another, asks each team to scan a 600 square meter space spread out over two floors without the use of prior maps or infrastructure. The teams are judged on the accuracy of the coordinates they gather for 20 test points throughout the competition space, all of which have been scanned with a terrestrial laser scanner to lock in the ground truth.
Last year Kaarta won with its handheld Stencil device, which returned a 0.16 meter average localization error compared to the laser data. This year, the company fielded the same device and reported a much-improved 0.03 meter average localization error–enough to net them first prize for the second year in a row.
As Kevin Dowling, CEO of Kaarta explained in an official statement, “It’s been exciting to take part in this competition and we’re thrilled to have won a second time in as many years. We are proving that real-time results are attainable, and that accuracy needn’t suffer for the sake of speed and usability. 3D modeling through mapping and localization is ripe for a step change especially for indoor applications, underscored by our maxim that ‘the inside is as big as the outside.’ ”