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HDR imaging for feature tracking in challenging visibility scenes

Lounis Chermak (Department of Informatics and Systems Engineering, Cranfield University, Shrivenham, UK)
Nabil Aouf (Department of Informatics and Systems Engineering, Cranfield University, Shrivenham, UK)
Mark Richardson (Department of Informatics and Systems Engineering, Cranfield University, Shrivenham, UK)

Kybernetes

ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 26 August 2014

Abstract

Purpose

In visual-based applications, lighting conditions have a considerable impact on quality of the acquired images. Extremely low or high illuminated environments are a real issue for a majority of cameras due to limitations in their dynamic range. Indeed, over or under exposure might result in loss of essential information because of pixel saturation or noise. This can be critical in computer vision applications. High dynamic range (HDR) imaging technology is known to improve image rendering in such conditions. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the level of performance that can be achieved for feature detection and tracking operations in images acquired with a HDR image sensor.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, four different feature detection techniques are selected and tracking algorithm is based on the pyramidal implementation of Kanade-Lucas-Tomasi (KLT) feature tracker. Tracking algorithm is run over image sequences acquired with a HDR image sensor and with a high resolution 5 Megapixel image sensor to comparatively assess them.

Findings

The authors demonstrate that tracking performance is greatly improved on image sequences acquired with HDR sensor. Number and percentage of finally tracked features are several times higher than what can be achieved with a 5 Megapixel image sensor.

Originality/value

The specific interest of this work focuses on the evaluation of tracking persistence of a set of initial detected features over image sequences taken in different scenes. This includes extreme illumination indoor and outdoor environments subject to direct sunlight exposure, backlighting, as well as dim light and dark scenarios.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research leading to these results has received funding from Thales and ESA. The authors would like to thank them for help and support.

Citation

Chermak, L., Aouf, N. and Richardson, M. (2014), "HDR imaging for feature tracking in challenging visibility scenes", Kybernetes, Vol. 43 No. 8, pp. 1129-1149. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-07-2014-0137

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited