Multi-Visual-Inertial System: Analysis, Calibration and Estimation

by   Yulin Yang, et al.

In this paper, we study state estimation of multi-visual-inertial systems (MVIS) and develop sensor fusion algorithms to optimally fuse an arbitrary number of asynchronous inertial measurement units (IMUs) or gyroscopes and global and(or) rolling shutter cameras. We are especially interested in the full calibration of the associated visual-inertial sensors, including the IMU or camera intrinsics and the IMU-IMU(or camera) spatiotemporal extrinsics as well as the image readout time of rolling-shutter cameras (if used). To this end, we develop a new analytic combined IMU integration with intrinsics-termed ACI3-to preintegrate IMU measurements, which is leveraged to fuse auxiliary IMUs and(or) gyroscopes alongside a base IMU. We model the multi-inertial measurements to include all the necessary inertial intrinsic and IMU-IMU spatiotemporal extrinsic parameters, while leveraging IMU-IMU rigid-body constraints to eliminate the necessity of auxiliary inertial poses and thus reducing computational complexity. By performing observability analysis of MVIS, we prove that the standard four unobservable directions remain - no matter how many inertial sensors are used, and also identify, for the first time, degenerate motions for IMU-IMU spatiotemporal extrinsics and auxiliary inertial intrinsics. In addition to the extensive simulations that validate our analysis and algorithms, we have built our own MVIS sensor rig and collected over 25 real-world datasets to experimentally verify the proposed calibration against the state-of-the-art calibration method such as Kalibr. We show that the proposed MVIS calibration is able to achieve competing accuracy with improved convergence and repeatability, which is open sourced to better benefit the community.


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