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Proceedings Paper

Discriminating man-made and natural objects in sidescan sonar imagery: human versus computer recognition performance
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Paper Abstract

Sidescan sonar is increasingly accepted as the sensor of choice for sea minehunting over large areas in shallow water. Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) algorithms are therefore being developed to assist and, in the case of autonomous vehicles, even replace the human operator as the primary recognition agent deciding whether an object in the sonar imagery is a mine or simply benign seafloor clutter. Whether ATR aids or replaces a human operator, a natural benchmark for judging the quality of ATR is the unaided human performance when ATR is not used. The benchmark can help when estimating the performance benefit (or cost) of switching from human to automatic recognition for instance, or when planning how human and machine should best interact in cooperative search operations. This paper reports a human performance study using a large library of real sonar images collected for the development and testing of ATR algorithms. The library features 234 mine-like man-made objects deployed for the purpose, as well as 105 instances of naturally occurring clutter. The human benchmark in this case is the average of ten human subjects expressed in terms of a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. An ATR algorithm for man-made/natural object discrimination is also tested and compared with the human benchmark . The implications of its relative performance for the integration of ATR are considered.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 May 2005
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5807, Automatic Target Recognition XV, (19 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.602717
Show Author Affiliations
Ronald T. Kessel, Defence R&D Canada (Canada)
Vincent L. Myers, NATO Undersea Research Ctr. (Italy)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5807:
Automatic Target Recognition XV
Firooz A. Sadjadi, Editor(s)

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