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While the Kinect is a great sensor it has some serious drawbacks that need to be considered when it has to act as the only source of range data.

  • The Kinect does not work well in bright Sunlight, as there is too much IR light comming in.
  • Especially when using for fake-laser data the field of view is very small (only about 60 degree). So there have to be enough depth features and no clean walls, otherwise the scanmatching becomes very inaccurate.
  • At ranges higher than about 2.5 meters the depth resolution becomes quite rough and the noise in measurements increases significantly.

If you can prepare your environment according to these points it might work well. However some algorithms that purely rely on high fov laser data like for example Hector SLAM will most likely still perform poor.

I suggest you read some of the questions and answers here to the topics of Kinect and fake laser. That will give you a good impression of the problems and limitations that will arise.