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Proceedings Paper

Tracking algorithm selection considerations for airborne laser pointer/tracker system
Author(s): Matthew J Krizo; Salvatore J. Cusumano; Victor R. Velten
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Paper Abstract

The Air Force Institute of Technology's Center for Directed Energy's (AFIT/CDE), under sponsorship of the HEL Joint Technology Office, and as part of a multidisciplinary research initiative on aero optics effects, has designed and fabricated a laser pointing/tracking system. This system will serve as the laser source for a series of in-flight data collection campaigns involving two aircraft. Real-Time tracking systems have a distinct difference from automatic image analysis. Both activities often involve the segmentation of an image and the automatic location of an item of interest. A number of advanced tracking algorithms have been developed for applications involving processing previously captured data. Medical imaging applications frequently use post processing algorithms to segment anomalies in medical imaging. In this paper we discuss an airborne laser pointing and tracking system and its requirements, designed and implemented at AFIT. This application is different because the image processing must be completed during the inter-frame period. AFIT analyzed available tracking algorithms including: centroid tracking, Fitts correlator, Posterior Track, and Active Contour. These algorithms were evaluated on their ability to both accurately track and to be computed in real time using existing hardware. The analysis shows that some of the more accurate tracking algorithms are not easily implementable in real time. Often there are large numbers of correlations that must be computed for each frame. Higher resolution images quickly escalate this problem. Algorithm selection for tracking applications must balance the need for accuracy and computational simplicity. Real time tracking algorithms are limited by the amount of time between frames with which to processes the data. Specialized hardware can improve this situation. We selected centroid tracking for the airborne application and evaluate its performance to show that it meets design requirements.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 May 2010
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7696, Automatic Target Recognition XX; Acquisition, Tracking, Pointing, and Laser Systems Technologies XXIV; and Optical Pattern Recognition XXI, 769617 (12 May 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.849571
Show Author Affiliations
Matthew J Krizo, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)
Salvatore J. Cusumano, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)
Victor R. Velten, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7696:
Automatic Target Recognition XX; Acquisition, Tracking, Pointing, and Laser Systems Technologies XXIV; and Optical Pattern Recognition XXI
Firooz A. Sadjadi; David P. Casasent; Steven L. Chodos; Abhijit Mahalanobis; William E. Thompson; Tien-Hsin Chao, Editor(s)

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