Current solutions to the simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) problem approach it as the optimization of a graph of geometric constraints. Scalability is achieved by reducing the size of the graph, usually in two phases. First, some selected nodes in the graph are marginalized and then, the dense and non-relinearizable result is sparsified. The sparsified network has a new set of relinearizable factors and is an approximation to the original dense one. Sparsification is typically approached as a Kullback-Liebler divergence (KLD) minimization between the dense marginalization result and the new set of factors. For a simple topology of the new factors, such as a tree, there is a closed form optimal solution. However, more populated topologies can achieve a much better approximation because more information can be encoded, although in that case iterative optimization is needed to solve the KLD minimization. Iterative optimization methods proposed by the state-of-art sparsification require parameter tuning which strongly affect their convergence. In this paper, we propose factor descent and non-cyclic factor descent, two simple algorithms for SLAM sparsification that match the state-of-art methods without any parameters to be tuned. The proposed methods are compared against the state of the art with regards to accuracy and CPU time, in both synthetic and real world datasets.



Author keywords

SLAM, mapping, localization

Scientific reference

J. Vallvé, J. Solà and J. Andrade-Cetto. Graph SLAM sparsification with populated topologies using factor descent optimization. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 3(2): 1322-1329, 2018.