3D Visual Odometry for Road Vehicles

García, Ricardo; Sotelo, Miguel Ángel; Parra, Ignacio; Llorca, David F.; Naranjo, J. Eugenio; Gavilán, Miguel
Year: 2008
Type of Publication: Article
Journal: Journal of Intelligent {&} Robotic Systems
Volume: 51
Pages: 113-134
ISSN: 0921-0296
DOI: 10.1007/s10846-007-9182-5
This paper describes a method for estimating the vehicle global position in a network of roads by means of visual odometry. To do so, the ego-motion of the vehicle relative to the road is computed using a stereo-vision system mounted next to the rear view mirror of the car. Feature points are matched between pairs of frames and linked into 3D trajectories. Vehicle motion is estimated using the non-linear, photogrametric approach based on RANSAC. This iterative technique enables the formulation of a robust method that can ignore large numbers of outliers as encountered in real traffic scenes. The resulting method is defined as visual odometry and can be used in conjunction with other sensors, such as GPS, to produce accurate estimates of the vehicle global position. The obvious application of the method is to provide on-board driver assistance in navigation tasks, or to provide a means for autonomously navigating a vehicle. The method has been tested in real traffic conditions without using prior knowledge about the scene nor the vehicle motion. We provide examples of estimated vehicle trajectories using the proposed method and discuss the key issues for further improvement.
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