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Visual odometry (VO) is the process of estimating the egomotion of an agent (e.g., vehicle, human, and robot) using only the input of a single or If multiple cameras attached to it. Application domains include robotics, wearable computing, augmented reality, and automotive. The term VO was coined in 2004 by Nister in his landmark paper. The term was chosen for its similarity to wheel odometry, which incrementally estimates the motion of a vehicle by integrating the number of turns of its wheels over time. Likewise, VO operates by incrementally estimating the pose of the vehicle through examination of the changes that motion induces on the images of its onboard cameras. For VO to work effectively, there should be sufficient illumination in the environment and a static scene with enough texture to allow apparent motion to be extracted. Furthermore, consecutive frames should be captured by ensuring that they have sufficient scene overlap.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2011