Pseudo-LiDAR for Visual Odometry

In the existing methods, LiDAR odometry shows superior performance, but visual odometry is still widely used for its price advantage. Conventionally, the task of visual odometry mainly rely on the input of continuous images. However, it is very complicated for the odometry network to learn the epipolar geometry information provided by the images. In this paper, the concept of pseudo-LiDAR is introduced into the odometry to solve this problem. The pseudo-LiDAR point cloud back-projects the depth map generated by the image into the 3D point cloud, which changes the way of image representation. Compared with the stereo images, the pseudo-LiDAR point cloud generated by the stereo matching network can get the explicit 3D coordinates. Since the 6 Degrees of Freedom (DoF) pose transformation occurs in 3D space, the 3D structure information provided by the pseudo-LiDAR point cloud is more direct than the image. Compared with sparse LiDAR, the pseudo-LiDAR has a denser point cloud. In order to make full use of the rich point cloud information provided by the pseudo-LiDAR, a projection-aware dense odometry pipeline is adopted. Most previous LiDAR-based algorithms sampled 8192 points from the point cloud as input to the odometry network. The projection-aware dense odometry pipeline takes all the pseudo-LiDAR point clouds generated from the images except for the error points as the input to the network. While making full use of the 3D geometric information in the images, the semantic information in the images is also used in the odometry task. The fusion of 2D-3D is achieved in an image-only based odometry. Experiments on the KITTI dataset prove the effectiveness of our method. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first visual odometry method using pseudo-LiDAR.

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