Localization systems play an important role in assisted navigation. Precise localization renders visually impaired people aware of ambient environments and prevents them from coming across potential hazards. The majority of visual localization algorithms, which are applied to autonomous vehicles, are not adaptable completely to the scenarios of assisted navigation. Those vehicle-based approaches are vulnerable to viewpoint, appearance and route changes (between database and query images) caused by wearable cameras of assistive devices. Facing these practical challenges, we propose Visual Localizer, which is composed of ConvNet descriptor and global optimization, to achieve robust visual localization for assisted navigation. The performance of five prevailing ConvNets are comprehensively compared, and GoogLeNet is found to feature the best performance on environmental invariance. By concatenating two compressed convolutional layers of GoogLeNet, we use only thousands of bytes to represent image efficiently. To further improve the robustness of image matching, we utilize the network flow model as a global optimization of image matching. The extensive experiments using images captured by visually impaired volunteers illustrate that the system performs well in the context of assisted navigation.
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