A Novel Parameterization of the Perspective-Three-Point Problem for a Direct Computation of Absolute Camera Position and Orientation



The Perspective-Three-Point (P3P) problem aims at determining the position and orientation of the camera in the world reference frame from three 2D-3D point correspondences. This problem is known to provide up to four solutions that can then be disambiguated using a fourth point. All existing solutions attempt to first solve for the position of the points in the camera reference frame, and then compute the position and orientation of the camera in the world frame, which alignes the two point sets. In contrast, in this paper we propose a novel closed-form solution to the P3P problem, which computes the aligning transformation directly in a single stage, without the intermediate derivation of the points in the camera frame. This is made possible by introducing intermediate camera and world reference frames, and expressing their relative position and orientation using only two parameters. The projection of a world point into the parametrized camera pose then leads to two conditions and finally a quartic equation for finding up to four solutions for the parameter pair. A subsequent backsubstitution directly leads to the corresponding camera poses with respect to the world reference frame. We show that the proposed algorithm offers accuracy and precision comparable to a popular, standard, state-of-the-art approach but at much lower computational cost (15 times faster). Furthermore, it provides improved numerical stability and is less affected by degenerate configurations of the selected world points. The superior computational efficiency is particularly suitable for any RANSAC-outlier-rejection step, which is always recommended before applying PnP or non-linear optimization of the final solution.

  1. Kneip, Laurent, Davide Scaramuzza, and Roland Siegwart. "A novel parameterization of the perspective-three-point problem for a direct computation of absolute camera position and orientation." 2011 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR).
  • Autonomous Systems Lab, ETH Zurich