Outdoor Downward-facing Optical Flow Odometry with Commodity Sensors

Michael Dille, Benjamin P. Grocholsky and Sanjiv Singh
Conference Paper, Proceedings Field & Service Robotics (FSR '09), July, 2009

View Publication

Copyright notice: This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.


Positioning is a key task in most field robotics applications but can be very challenging in GPS-denied or high-slip environments. A common tactic in such cases is to position visually, and we present a visual odometry implementation with the unusual reliance on optical mouse sensors to report vehicle velocity. Using multiple kilometers of data from a lunar rover prototype, we demonstrate that, in conjunction with a moderate-grade inertial measurement unit, such a sensor can provide an integrated pose stream that is at times more accurate than that achievable by wheel odometry and visibly more desirable for perception purposes than that provided by a high-end GPS-INS system. A discussion of the sensor’s limitations and several drift mitigating strategies attempted are presented.

author = {Michael Dille and Benjamin P. Grocholsky and Sanjiv Singh},
title = {Outdoor Downward-facing Optical Flow Odometry with Commodity Sensors},
booktitle = {Proceedings Field & Service Robotics (FSR '09)},
year = {2009},
month = {July},
} 2017-09-13T10:41:07-04:00