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I've read about various robots using a 2D lidar system for SLAM ( such as at IGCV, http://www.igvc.org/ ) but I'm wondering how good exactly does the sensor have to be? Specifically:

What accuracy is necessary?

What field of view is necessary? Is it enough just to have lidar scanning forward in a 90 degree sweep?

What angular resolution is needed?

I realize that probably with super clever software you could probably do SLAM with a couple ultrasonic sensors, but using standard packages for software navigation what's a reasonable minimum value for these parameters? (and any other important ones I've forgotten)

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I know this is not a specific answer, but I have found that the more range and field-of-view the better.

I have a gut feeling that if you can trade these off for accuracy and resolution, then you should go with more range. For example, if you could have 100 degrees FOV at some angular resolution, or 200 degrees FOV at half the angular resolution, then go with 200 degrees.

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There are no constraints on accuracy, because SLAM deals in probabilities. Better sensors mean better mapping (and better performance), but there are no baseline requirements.

For your question to have a meaningful answer, you would need to know how accurate you'd like your map to be, how long you'd want to spend exploring the space, and what level of confidence you'd like the map to have.

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