Faster than FAST: GPU-Accelerated Frontend for High-Speed VIO

Balazs Nagy, Philipp Foehn, Davide Scaramuzza
Robotics and Perception Group, Dep. of Informatics, University of Zurich, and Dep. of Neuroinformatics, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, Switzerland
arXiv:2003.13493 [cs.CV], (30 Mar 2020)


   title={Faster than FAST: GPU-Accelerated Frontend for High-Speed VIO},

   author={Balazs Nagy and Philipp Foehn and Davide Scaramuzza},






The recent introduction of powerful embedded graphics processing units (GPUs) has allowed for unforeseen improvements in real-time computer vision applications. It has enabled algorithms to run onboard, well above the standard video rates, yielding not only higher information processing capability, but also reduced latency. This work focuses on the applicability of efficient low-level, GPU hardware-specific instructions to improve on existing computer vision algorithms in the field of visual-inertial odometry (VIO). While most steps of a VIO pipeline work on visual features, they rely on image data for detection and tracking, of which both steps are well suited for parallelization. Especially non-maxima suppression and the subsequent feature selection are prominent contributors to the overall image processing latency. Our work first revisits the problem of non-maxima suppression for feature detection specifically on GPUs, and proposes a solution that selects local response maxima, imposes spatial feature distribution, and extracts features simultaneously. Our second contribution introduces an enhanced FAST feature detector that applies the aforementioned non-maxima suppression method. Finally, we compare our method to other state-of-the-art CPU and GPU implementations, where we always outperform all of them in feature tracking and detection, resulting in over 1000fps throughput on an embedded Jetson TX2 platform. Additionally, we demonstrate our work integrated in a VIO pipeline achieving a metric state estimation at ~200fps.
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