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Proceedings Paper

Terrain shape estimation from optical flow, using Kalman filtering
Author(s): William A. Hoff; Cheryl W. Sklair
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Paper Abstract

As one moves through a static environment, the visual world as projected on the retina seems to flow past. This apparent motion, called optical flow, can be an important source of depth perception for autonomous robots. An important application is in planetary exploration -the landing vehicle must find a safe landing site in rugged terrain, and an autonomous rover must be able to navigate safely through this terrain. In this paper, we describe a solution to this problem. Image edge points are tracked between frames of a motion sequence, and the range to the points is calculated from the displacement of the edge points and the known motion of the camera. Kalman filtering is used to incrementally improve the range estimates to those points, and provide an estimate of the uncertainty in each range. Errors in camera motion and image point measurement can also be modelled with Kalman filtering. A surface is then interpolated to these points, providing a complete map from which hazards such as steeply sloping areas can be detected. Using the method of extended Kalman filtering, our approach allows arbitrary camera motion. Preliminary results of an implementation are presented, and show that the resulting range accuracy is on the order of 1-2% of the range.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 January 1990
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 1260, Sensing and Reconstruction of Three-Dimensional Objects and Scenes, (1 January 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.20007
Show Author Affiliations
William A. Hoff, Martin Marietta Astronautics G (United States)
Cheryl W. Sklair, Martin Marietta Astronautics G (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1260:
Sensing and Reconstruction of Three-Dimensional Objects and Scenes
Bernd Girod, Editor(s)

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