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Robot Localization Package: Transform was unavailable for the time requested. Using latest instead.

asked 2018-09-09 19:35:59 -0600

jpde.lopes gravatar image

updated 2018-09-10 02:47:21 -0600

Hello, I am using an ArduPilot board with an internal IMU connected to an external GPS+Compass module. I wanted to localize a frame base_link in relation to odom_combined. This base link is connected to other frames, so I have created a simple URDF file:

<link name="base_link">
    <origin xyz="0 0 0"/>
<link name="laser_base">
<joint name="laser_down" type="fixed">
    <origin xyz="0 0 1" rpy="0 0 1.57079632679"/>
    <parent link="base_link"/>
    <child link="laser_base"/>

So, I went outside and with the sensors, moved around making a rectangle (moving forwards + turn right + forwards ...). This the trajectory I did: Trajectory seen on a map.

If I plot the latitude and longitude from the NavsatFix data, I have the following:

GPS Data

(I recorded the data from two GPS modules, but the External Module is the one I am talking about).

Everything seems fine, but if I try to use the robot_localization_package with the navsat_transform_node to estimate IMU which will then be the input to the ekf_localization_node, it shows the error:

[ WARN] Transform from base_link to odom_combined was unavailable for the time requested. Using latest instead.

And the frame in RViz does not seems fine at all, with very aggressive discrete jumps. Based on another question I did, I set the predict_to_current_time parameter to true, but it did not solve the problem.

Also, the gps/filtered output (shown below) from navsat_transform_node is very different from the original gps data:


Yet, the gps output from navsat_transform_node that will be the input from ekf_localization_node is correct (makes a perfect rectangle). This means that the problem is related to the IMU, right?

I really do not know how I can solve this problem because, the information from the sensors seems correct. The IMU frequency is around 2Hz. I know that it is too low, but I can not figure why (the mavros launch is commented below).

Also, here is the result of $ rosrun tf view_frames:


Here is the bag recorded in the parking lot (containing the IMU and NavSat/fix data). Also, I have created a another bag which, not only contains the IMU+Navsat information, but also, the topics associated with the robot_localization_package, when running navsat_transform_node and ekf_localization_node.


<node pkg="robot_state_publisher" type="robot_state_publisher" name="robot_state_publisher" output="screen">
<node pkg="joint_state_publisher" type="joint_state_publisher" name="joint_state_publisher"/>
<param name="robot_description" textfile="$(find obstacle_detection)/description/tripod.urdf" />
<node name="modelvisualization" pkg="rviz" type="rviz" output="screen"/>

<!-- VR Brain Parameters -->
<!-- <arg name="fcu_url" default="/dev/ttyUSB0:57600" />
<arg name="gcs_url" default="" />
<arg name="tgt_system" default="1" />
<arg name="tgt_component" default="1" />
<arg name="log_output" default="screen" />
<arg name="fcu_protocol" default="v2.0" />
<arg name="respawn_mavros" default="false" />    -->

<!-- Launch VR Brain -->
<!-- <include file="$(find mavros)/launch/node.launch">
    <arg name="pluginlists_yaml" value="$(find obstacle_detection)/params/apm_pluginlists.yaml" /> -->
    <!-- <arg name="config_yaml" value="$(find obstacle_detection)/params/apm_config.yaml" /> -->

    <!-- <arg name="fcu_url" value="$(arg fcu_url)" />
    <arg name="gcs_url" value="$(arg gcs_url)" />
    <arg name="tgt_system" value="$(arg tgt_system)" />
    <arg name="tgt_component" value="$(arg tgt_component)" />
    <arg name="log_output" value="$(arg log_output)" />
    <arg name="fcu_protocol" value ...
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answered 2018-10-22 10:43:12 -0600

Tom Moore gravatar image

Thanks for including your full configuration and sample messages. That's very helpful. Also, apologies for the delay in responding.

Anyway, I note in your EKF configuration that you (obviously) are not using two_d_mode, but yet you don't have a measurement/reference for Z. You are measuring every other pose variable in 3D, but unless you have a reference for at _least_ Z velocity, I would expect your EKF state estimate to be unstable, due to the fact that (a) Z isn't measured, and (b) Z is correlated with other state variables in the kinematic model.

If you have an altitude sensor, add that input to the EKF. If you don't, maybe consider faking a fixed altitude estimate?

Also, my experience has been that the IMU/GPS combo alone doesn't perform especially well. If you have any kind of velocity reference (camera-based optical flow data, for example), that would be helpful.

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Thank you very much for your reply. Instead of IMU and GPS, would adding an extra IMU help? Or is the optical flow preferable? Also, I am now using RTK, which I think will help with the xyz estimate.

jpde.lopes gravatar image jpde.lopes  ( 2018-10-22 11:10:40 -0600 )edit

I am currently not with the IMU and GPS setup to test, but on Wednesday, I will perform new tests having your answer in consideration and I will post the updates.

jpde.lopes gravatar image jpde.lopes  ( 2018-10-22 11:12:15 -0600 )edit

The reason why I have removed the Z measurement was because it was really unstable, going up and down, and I didnt know why. Even if I add the z measurement, the lack of z velocity would result in instabilities?, because I dont have that variable measured.

jpde.lopes gravatar image jpde.lopes  ( 2018-10-22 11:15:31 -0600 )edit

Every _pose_ variable (x, y, z, roll, pitch, and yaw) needs to either be measured directly, or as a velocity. If you have any pose variable that isn't, the filter won't behave.

If you want a smoother filter output, I'd recommend fusing in some optical flow 3D velocity data.

Tom Moore gravatar image Tom Moore  ( 2018-10-24 09:57:42 -0600 )edit

Hello,jpde.lopes,I encountered the same problem as you, did you solve it?

FeynH gravatar image FeynH  ( 2020-03-30 01:12:53 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2018-09-09 19:35:59 -0600

Seen: 761 times

Last updated: Oct 22 '18