Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

R. James Duckworth, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Michael A. Gennert, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Liu Ren, Committee Member


David Cyganski




In this dissertation, we have focused on conflicts that occur due to disagreeing motions in multi-modal localization algorithms. In spite of the recent achievements in robust localization by means of multi-sensor fusion, these algorithms are not applicable to all environments. This is primarily attributed to the following fundamental assumptions: (i) the environment is predominantly stationary, (ii) only ego-motion of the sensor platform exists, and (iii) multiple sensors are always in agreement with each other regarding the observed motion. Recently, studies have shown how to relax the static environment assumption using outlier rejection techniques and dynamic object segmentation. Additionally, to handle non ego-motion, approaches that extend the localization algorithm to multi-body tracking have been studied. However, there has been no attention given to the conditions where multiple sensors contradict each other with regard to the motions observed.

Vision based localization has become an attractive approach for both indoor and outdoor applications due to the large information bandwidth provided by images and reduced cost of the cameras used. In order to improve the robustness and overcome the limitations of vision, an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) may be used. Even though visual-inertial localization has better accuracy and improved robustness due to the complementary nature of camera and IMU sensor, they are affected by disagreements in motion observations. We term such dynamic situations as environments with motion conflictbecause these are caused when multiple different but self- consistent motions are observed by different sensors. Tightly coupled visual inertial fusion approaches that disregard such challenging situations exhibit drift that can lead to catastrophic errors.

We have provided a probabilistic model for motion conflict. Additionally, a novel algorithm to detect and resolve motion conflicts is also presented. Our method to detect motion conflicts is based on per-frame positional estimate discrepancy and per- landmark reprojection errors. Motion conflicts were resolved by eliminating inconsistent IMU and landmark measurements. Finally, a Motion Conflict aware Visual Inertial Odometry (MC- VIO) algorithm that combined both detection and resolution of motion conflict was implemented. Both quantitative and qualitative evaluation of MC-VIO on visually and inertially challenging datasets were obtained. Experimental results indicated that MC-VIO algorithm reduced the absolute trajectory error by 70% and the relative pose error by 34% in scenes with motion conflict, in comparison to the reference VIO algorithm. Motion conflict detection and resolution enables the application of visual inertial localization algorithms to real dynamic environments. This paves the way for articulate object tracking in robotics. It may also find numerous applications in active long term augmented reality.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Robotics Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





Localization SLAM visual inertial odometry IMU sensor fusion motion conflict outlier rejection