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This paper describes a vision-based system for 3-D localization of a mobile robot in a natural environment. The system includes a mountable head with three on-board charge-coupled device cameras that can be installed on the robot. The main emphasis of this paper is on the ability to estimate the motion of the robot independently from any prior scene knowledge, landmark, or extra sensory devices. Distinctive scene features are identified using a novel algorithm, and their 3-D locations are estimated with high accuracy by a stereo algorithm. Using new two-stage feature tracking and iterative motion estimation in a symbiotic manner, precise motion vectors are obtained. The 3-D positions of scene features and the robot are refined by a Kalman filtering approach with a complete error-propagation modeling scheme. Experimental results show that good tracking and localization can be achieved using the proposed vision system.