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LOAM: Lidar Odometry and Mapping in Real-time

Ji Zhang and Sanjiv Singh
Conference Paper, Carnegie Mellon University, Robotics: Science and Systems Conference, July, 2014

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We propose a real-time method for odometry and mapping using range measurements from a 2-axis lidar moving in 6-DOF. The problem is hard because the range measurements are received at different times, and errors in motion estimation can cause mis-registration of the resulting point cloud. To date, coherent 3D maps can be built by off-line batch methods, often using loop closure to correct for drift over time. Our method achieves both low-drift and low-computational complexity with- out the need for high accuracy ranging or inertial measurements. The key idea in obtaining this level of performance is the division of the complex problem of simultaneous localization and mapping, which seeks to optimize a large number of variables simultaneously, by two algorithms. One algorithm performs odometry at a high frequency but low fidelity to estimate velocity of the lidar. Another algorithm runs at a frequency of an order of magnitude lower for fine matching and registration of the point cloud. Combination of the two algorithms allows the method to map in real-time. The method has been evaluated by a large set of experiments as well as on the KITTI odometry benchmark. The results indicate that the method can achieve accuracy at the level of state of the art offline batch methods.

BibTeX Reference
title = {LOAM: Lidar Odometry and Mapping in Real-time},
author = {Ji Zhang and Sanjiv Singh},
booktitle = {Robotics: Science and Systems Conference},
school = {Robotics Institute , Carnegie Mellon University},
month = {July},
year = {2014},
address = {Pittsburgh, PA},