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Exploiting motion priors in visual odometry for vehicle-mounted cameras with non-holonomic constraints

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3 Author(s)
Scaramuzza, D. ; GRASP Lab, department of Computer and Information Science, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA ; Censi, Andrea ; Daniilidis, K.

This paper presents a new method to estimate the relative motion of a vehicle from images of a single camera. The biggest problem in visual motion estimation is data association; matched points contain many outliers that must be detected and removed so that the motion can be estimated accurately. A very established method for robust motion estimation in the presence of outliers is the five-point RANSAC algorithm. Five-point RANSAC operates by generating motion hypotheses from randomly-sampled minimal sets of five-point correspondences. These hypotheses are then tested against all data points and the motion hypothesis that after a given number of iterations returns the largest number of inliers is taken as the solution to the problem. A typical drawback of RANSAC is that the number of iterations required to find a suitable solution grows exponentially with the number of outliers, often requiring thousands of iterations for typical data from urban environments. Another problem is that - due to its random nature - sometimes the found solution is not the “best” solution to the motion estimation problem. In this paper, we describe an algorithm for relative motion estimation in the presence of outliers, which does not rely on RANSAC. Contrary to RANSAC, motion hypotheses are not generated from randomly-sampled point correspondences, but from a “proposal distribution” that is built by exploiting the vehicle non-holonomic constraints. We show that not only is the proposed algorithm significantly faster than RANSAC, but that the returned solution may also be better in that it favors the underlying motion model of the vehicle, thus overcoming the typical limitations of RANSAC. Additionally, the proposed algorithm provides the likelihood of the motion estimate, which can be very useful in all those applications where a probability distribution of the position of the vehicle is required (e.g., SLAM). Finally, the performance of the proposed meth- d is compared to that of the standard five-point RANSAC on real images collected from a vehicle moving in a cluttered, urban environment.

Published in:

Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2011 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on

Date of Conference:

25-30 Sept. 2011