Kai Fischer, Martin Simon, Florian Olsner, Stefan Milz, Horst-Michael Groß, Patrick Mäder
Robust point cloud registration in real-time is an important prerequisite for many mapping and localization algorithms. Traditional methods like ICP tend to fail without good initialization, insufficient overlap or in the presence of dynamic objects. Modern deep learning based registration approaches present much better results, but suffer from a heavy runtime. We overcome these drawbacks by introducing StickyPillars, a fast, accurate and extremely robust deep middle-end 3D feature matching method on point clouds. It uses graph neural networks and performs context aggregation on sparse 3D key-points with the aid of transformer based multi-head self and cross-attention. The network output is used as the cost for an optimal transport problem whose solution yields the final matching probabilities. The system does not rely on hand crafted feature descriptors or heuristic matching strategies. We present state-of-art art accuracy results on the registration problem demonstrated on the KITTI dataset while being four times faster then leading deep methods. Furthermore, we integrate our matching system into a LiDAR odometry pipeline yielding most accurate results on the KITTI odometry dataset. Finally, we demonstrate robustness on KITTI odometry. Our method remains stable in accuracy where state-of-the-art procedures fail on frame drops and higher speeds.