Incremental Light Bundle Adjustment for Structure From Motion and Robotics
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Bundle adjustment (BA) is essential in many robotics and structure-from-motion applications. In robotics, often a bundle adjustment solution is desired to be available incrementally as new poses and 3D points are observed. Similarly in batch structure from motion, cameras are typically added incrementally to allow good initializations. Current incremental BA methods quickly become computationally expensive as more camera poses and 3D points are added into the optimization. In this paper we introduce incremental light bundle adjustment (iLBA), an efficient optimization framework that substantially reduces computational complexity compared to incremental bundle adjustment. First, the number of variables in the optimization is reduced by algebraic elimination of observed 3D points, leading to a structureless BA. The resulting cost function is formulated in terms of three-view constraints instead of re-projection errors and only the camera poses are optimized. Second, the optimization problem is represented using graphical models and incremental inference is applied, updating the solution using adaptive partial calculations each time a new camera is incorporated into the optimization. Typically, only a small fraction of the camera poses are recalculated in each optimization step. The 3D points, although not explicitly optimized, can be reconstructed based on the optimized camera poses at any time. We study probabilistic and computational aspects of iLBA and compare its accuracy against incremental BA and another recent structureless method using real-imagery and synthetic datasets. Results indicate iLBA is 2-10 times faster than incremental BA, depending on number of image observations per frame.