Semi-dense Visual Odometry for a Monocular Camera

Jakob Engel, Jurgen Sturm, Daniel Cremers; Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2013, pp. 1449-1456


We propose a fundamentally novel approach to real-time visual odometry for a monocular camera. It allows to benefit from the simplicity and accuracy of dense tracking which does not depend on visual features while running in real-time on a CPU. The key idea is to continuously estimate a semi-dense inverse depth map for the current frame, which in turn is used to track the motion of the camera using dense image alignment. More specifically, we estimate the depth of all pixels which have a non-negligible image gradient. Each estimate is represented as a Gaussian probability distribution over the inverse depth. We propagate this information over time, and update it with new measurements as new images arrive. In terms of tracking accuracy and computational speed, the proposed method compares favorably to both state-of-the-art dense and feature-based visual odometry and SLAM algorithms. As our method runs in real-time on a CPU, it is of large practical value for robotics and augmented reality applications.

Related Material

author = {Engel, Jakob and Sturm, Jurgen and Cremers, Daniel},
title = {Semi-dense Visual Odometry for a Monocular Camera},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
month = {December},
year = {2013}