A Deep Neural Network with 2D Keypoint Matching for 3D LiDAR Odometry Estimation



Deep learning based LiDAR odometry (LO) estimation attracts increasing research interests in the field of autonomous driving and robotics. Existing works feed consecutive LiDAR frames into neural networks as point clouds and match pairs in the learned feature space. In contrast, motivated by the success of image based feature extractors, we propose to transfer the LiDAR frames to image space and reformulate the problem as image feature extraction. With the help of scale-invariant feature transform (SIFT) for feature extraction, we are able to generate matched keypoint pairs (MKPs) that can be precisely returned to the 3D space. A convolutional neural network pipeline is designed for LiDAR odometry estimation by extracted MKPs. The proposed scheme, namely LodoNet, is then evaluated in the KITTI odometry estimation benchmark, achieving on par with or even better results than the state-of-the-art.