COP-SLAM: Closed-form online pose-chain optimization for visual SLAM

G. Dubbelman, B. Browning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
520 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we analyze and extend the recently proposed closed-form online pose-chain simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithm. Pose-chains are a specific type of extremely sparse pose-graphs and a product of contemporary SLAM front-ends, which perform accurate visual odometry and reliable appearance-based loop detection. They are relevant for challenging robotic applications in large-scale 3-D environments for which frequent loop detection is not desired or not possible. Closed-form online pose-chain SLAM efficiently and accurately optimizes pose-chains by exploiting their Lie group structure. The convergence and optimality properties of this solution are discussed in detail and are compared against state-of-the-art iterative methods. We also provide a novel solution space, that of similarity transforms, which has not been considered earlier for the proposed algorithm. This allows for closed-form optimization of pose-chains that exhibit scale drift, which is important to monocular SLAM systems. On the basis of extensive experiments, specifically targeting 3-D pose-chains and using a total of 60 km of challenging binocular and monocular data, it is shown that the accuracy obtained by closed-form online pose-chain SLAM is comparable with that of state-of-the-art iterative methods, while the time it needs to compute its solution is orders of magnitudes lower. This novel SLAM technique thereby is relevant to a broad range of robotic applications and computational platforms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1194-1213
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • Lie groups
  • SLAM (robots)
  • optimisation


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