Tutorial: Visual odometry

Davide Scaramuzza*, Friedrich Fraundorfer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Visual odometry (VO) is the process of estimating the egomotion of an agent (e.g., vehicle, human, and robot) using only the input of a single or multiple cameras attached to it. Application domains include robotics, wearable computing, augmented reality, and automotive. The term VO was coined in 2004 by Nister in his landmark paper [1]. The term was chosen for its similarity to wheel odometry, which incrementally estimates the motion of a vehicle by integrating the number of turns of its wheels over time. Likewise, VO operates by incrementally estimating the pose of the vehicle through examination of the changes that motion induces on the images of its onboard cameras. For VO to work effectively, there should be sufficient illumination in the environment and a static scene with enough texture to allow apparent motion to be extracted. Furthermore, consecutive frames should be captured by ensuring that they have sufficient scene overlap.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6096039
Pages (from-to)80-92
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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