Robotics: Science and Systems VI

Scale Drift-Aware Large Scale Monocular SLAM

H. Strasdat, J. M. M. Montiel and A. Davison


State of the art visual SLAM systems have recently been presented which are capable of accurate, large-scale and real-time performance, but most of these require stereo vision. Important application areas in robotics and beyond open up if similar performance can be demonstrated using monocular vision, since a single camera will always be cheaper, more compact and easier to calibrate than a multi-camera rig.
With high quality estimation, a single camera moving through a static scene of course effectively provides its own stereo geometry via frames distributed over time. However, a classic issue with monocular visual SLAM is that due to the purely projective nature of a single camera, motion estimates and map structure can only be recovered up to scale. Without the known inter-camera distance of a stereo rig to serve as an anchor, the scale of locally constructed map portions and the corresponding motion estimates is therefore liable to drift over time.
In this paper we describe a new near real-time visual SLAM system which adopts the continuous keyframe optimisation approach of the best current stereo systems, but accounts for the additional challenges presented by monocular input. In particular, we present a new pose-graph optimisation technique which allows for the efficient correction of rotation, translation and scale drift at loop closures. Especially, we describe the Lie group of similarity transformations and its relation to the corresponding Lie algebra. We also present in detail the system’s new image processing front-end which is able accurately to track hundreds of features per frame, and a filter-based approach for feature initialisation within keyframe-based SLAM. Our approach is proven via large-scale simulation and real-world experiments where a camera completes large looped trajectories.



    AUTHOR    = {H. Strasdat AND J. M. M. Montiel AND A. Davison},
    TITLE     = {Scale Drift-Aware Large Scale Monocular SLAM},
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems},
    YEAR      = {2010},
    ADDRESS   = {Zaragoza, Spain},
    MONTH     = {June},
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2010.VI.010}