Map Point Selection for Visual SLAM

by   Christiaan J. Müller, et al.

Simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) play a vital role in autonomous robotics. Robotic platforms are often resource-constrained, and this limitation motivates resource-efficient SLAM implementations. While sparse visual SLAM algorithms offer good accuracy for modest hardware requirements, even these more scalable sparse approaches face limitations when applied to large-scale and long-term scenarios. A contributing factor is that the point clouds resulting from SLAM are inefficient to use and contain significant redundancy. This paper proposes the use of subset selection algorithms to reduce the map produced by sparse visual SLAM algorithms. Information-theoretic techniques have been applied to simpler related problems before, but they do not scale if applied to the full visual SLAM problem. This paper proposes a number of novel informationtheoretic utility functions for map point selection and optimises these functions using greedy algorithms. The reduced maps are evaluated using practical data alongside an existing visual SLAM implementation (ORB-SLAM 2). Approximate selection techniques proposed in this paper achieve trajectory accuracy comparable to an offline baseline while being suitable for online use. These techniques enable the practical reduction of maps for visual SLAM with competitive trajectory accuracy. Results also demonstrate that SLAM front-end performance can significantly impact the performance of map point selection. This shows the importance of testing map point selection with a front-end implementation. To exploit this, this paper proposes an approach that includes a model of the front-end in the utility function when additional information is available. This approach outperforms alternatives on applicable datasets and highlights future research directions.


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