Initialization Techniques for 3D SLAM: A Survey on Rotation Estimation and its Use in Pose Graph Optimization
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Pose graph optimization is the non-convex optimization problem underlying pose-based Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). If robot orientations were known, pose graph optimization would be a linear least-squares problem, whose solution can be computed efficiently and reliably. Since rotations are the actual reason why SLAM is a difficult problem, in this work we survey techniques for 3D rotation estimation. Rotation estimation has a rich history in three scientific communities: robotics, computer vision, and control theory. We review relevant contributions across these communities, assess their practical use in the SLAM domain, and benchmark their performance on representative SLAM problems (Fig. 1). We show that the use of rotation estimation to bootstrap iterative pose graph solvers entails significant boost in convergence speed and robustness.