Javier Dominguez-Conti, Jianfeng Yin, Yacine Alami, and Javier Civera.
Visual-inertial slam initialization: a general linear formulation and a gravity-observing non-linear optimization.
In Proceedings of the IEEE and ACM International Symposium for Mixed and Augmented Reality 2018 (To appear). 2018.
The initialization is one of the less reliable pieces of Visual-Inertial SLAM (VI-SLAM) and Odometry (VI-O). The estimation of the initial state (camera poses, IMU states and landmark positions) from the first data readings lacks the accuracy and robustness of other parts of the pipeline, and most algorithms have high failure rates and/or initialization delays up to tens of seconds. Such initialization is critical for AR systems, as the failures and delays of the current approaches can ruin the user experience or mandate impractical guided calibration. In this paper we address the state initialization problem using a monocular-inertial sensor setup, the most common in AR platforms. Our contributions are 1) a general linear formulation to obtain an initialization seed, and 2) a non-linear optimization scheme, including gravity, to refine the seed. Our experimental results, in a public dataset, show that our approach improves the accuracy and robustness of current VI state initialization schemes.