Coarse-to-Fine Loosely-Coupled LiDAR-Inertial Odometry for Urban Positioning and Mapping

Jiachen Zhang, Weisong Wen, Feng Huang, Xiaodong Chen, Li-Ta Hsu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Accurate positioning and mapping are significant for autonomous systems with navigation requirements. In this paper, a coarse-to-fine loosely-coupled (LC) LiDAR-inertial odometry (LC-LIO) that could explore the complementariness of LiDAR and inertial measurement unit (IMU) was proposed for the real-time and accurate pose estimation of a ground vehicle in urban environments. Different from the existing tightly-coupled (TC) LiDAR-inertial fusion schemes which directly use all the considered ranges and inertial measurements to optimize the vehicle pose, the method proposed in this paper performs loosely-couped integrated optimization with the high-frequency motion prediction, which was produced by IMU integration based on optimized results, employed as the initial guess of LiDAR odometry to approach the optimality of LiDAR scan-to-map registration. As one of the prominent contributions, thorough studies were conducted on the performance upper bound of the TC LiDAR-inertial fusion schemes and LC ones, respectively. Furthermore, the experimental verification was performed on the proposition that the proposed pipeline can fully relax the potential of the LiDAR measurements (centimeter-level ranging accuracy) in a coarse-to-fine way without being disturbed by the unexpected IMU bias. Moreover, an adaptive covariance estimation method employed during LC optimization was proposed to explain the uncertainty of LiDAR scan-to-map registration in dynamic scenarios. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the proposed system was validated on challenging real-world datasets. Meanwhile, the process that the proposed pipelines realized the coarse-to-fine LiDAR scan-to-map registration was presented in detail. Comparing with the existing state-of-the-art TC-LIO, the focus of this study would be placed on that the proposed LC-LIO work could achieve similar or better accuracy with a reduced computational expense.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021

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