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Picking Up Speed: Continuous-Time Lidar-Only Odometry using Doppler Velocity Measurements

by   Yuchen Wu, et al.

Frequency-Modulated Continuous-Wave (FMCW) lidar is a recently emerging technology that additionally enables per-return instantaneous relative radial velocity measurements via the Doppler effect. In this letter, we present the first continuous-time lidar-only odometry algorithm using these Doppler velocity measurements from an FMCW lidar to aid odometry in geometrically degenerate environments. We apply an existing continuous-time framework that efficiently estimates the vehicle trajectory using Gaussian process regression to compensate for motion distortion due to the scanning-while-moving nature of any mechanically actuated lidar (FMCW and non-FMCW). We evaluate our proposed algorithm on several real-world datasets, including publicly available ones and datasets we collected. Our algorithm outperforms the only existing method that also uses Doppler velocity measurements, and we study difficult conditions where including this extra information greatly improves performance. We additionally demonstrate state-of-the-art performance of lidar-only odometry with and without using Doppler velocity measurements in nominal conditions. Code for this project can be found at:


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