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Sensors 2014, 14(3), 4981-5003; doi:10.3390/s140304981

Enhanced Monocular Visual Odometry Integrated with Laser Distance Meter for Astronaut Navigation

1
State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100000, China
2
Computer and Information Engineering College, Henan University, Kaifeng 475000, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 January 2014 / Revised: 3 March 2014 / Accepted: 3 March 2014 / Published: 11 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Abstract

Visual odometry provides astronauts with accurate knowledge of their position and orientation. Wearable astronaut navigation systems should be simple and compact. Therefore, monocular vision methods are preferred over stereo vision systems, commonly used in mobile robots. However, the projective nature of monocular visual odometry causes a scale ambiguity problem. In this paper, we focus on the integration of a monocular camera with a laser distance meter to solve this problem. The most remarkable advantage of the system is its ability to recover a global trajectory for monocular image sequences by incorporating direct distance measurements. First, we propose a robust and easy-to-use extrinsic calibration method between camera and laser distance meter. Second, we present a navigation scheme that fuses distance measurements with monocular sequences to correct the scale drift. In particular, we explain in detail how to match the projection of the invisible laser pointer on other frames. Our proposed integration architecture is examined using a live dataset collected in a simulated lunar surface environment. The experimental results demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed method. View Full-Text
Keywords: monocular visual odometry; laser distance meter; scale drift; calibration; navigation monocular visual odometry; laser distance meter; scale drift; calibration; navigation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Wu, K.; Di, K.; Sun, X.; Wan, W.; Liu, Z. Enhanced Monocular Visual Odometry Integrated with Laser Distance Meter for Astronaut Navigation. Sensors 2014, 14, 4981-5003.

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