Robotics: Science and Systems X

An Online Sparsity-Cognizant Loop-Closure Algorithm for Visual Navigation

Yasir Latif, Guoquan Huang, John Leonard, Jose Neira


It is essential for a robot to be able to detect revisits or loop closures for long-term visual navigation. A key insight is that the loop-closing event inherently occurs sparsely, i.e., the image currently being taken matches with only a small subset (if any) of previous observations. Based on this observation, we formulate the problem of loop-closure detection as a sparse, convex l-1-minimization problem. By leveraging on fast convex optimization techniques, we are able to efficiently find loop closures, thus enabling real-time robot navigation. This novel formulation requires no offline dictionary learning, as required by most existing approaches, and thus allows online incremental operation. Our approach ensures a global, unique hypothesis by choosing only a single globally optimal match when making a loop-closure decision. Furthermore, the proposed formulation enjoys a flexible representation, with no restriction imposed on how images should be represented, while requiring only that the representations be close to each other when the corresponding images are visually similar. The proposed algorithm is validated extensively using public real-world datasets.



    AUTHOR    = {Yasir Latif AND Guoquan Huang AND John Leonard AND Jose Neira}, 
    TITLE     = {An Online Sparsity-Cognizant Loop-Closure Algorithm for Visual Navigation}, 
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems}, 
    YEAR      = {2014}, 
    ADDRESS   = {Berkeley, USA}, 
    MONTH     = {July},
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2014.X.036}