From Limor Schweitzer and his team at RoboSavvy:
Small step for Virtual Reality (VR), big step for autonomous robots. One of the key issues with autonomous robot applications is indoor localization. HTC Vive has singlehandedly solved this age-long problem.
This 800$ system (will go down to 200$ in a few months once lighthouses and base stations are available without the headset in addition to minuscule lighthouse sensors) is comparable to a 150 000$ Ir marker multi-camera system. The Vive gives you 60fps, 0.3mm resolution, across any size internal volume (currently a 5m cube box but will be extendable) So unless you are doing indoor 3D drones, you don't need more than 60Hz and a camera system will give ~cm resolution. No other indoor localization system can get anywhere close to the Vive specs.
Initially the idea was to just use this to calibrate our robot's odometry/localization mechanisms (visual, wheels, LIDAR, IMU) However, there was this unexpected turn of events the past month whereby Valve is opening up the technology for non-VR applications so it may actually be possible to rely on this for real indoor applications and use the other forms of localization as backup.
We ended up integrating the Vive API for tracking the handheld devices with ROS. This provides ROS robots with the most precise absolute indoor localization reference. Source code is available at: