We propose a method for computing the absolute distances to static obstacles using a single omnidirectional camera. The method is applied to mobile robots. We achieve this without restricting the application to predetermined translations or the use of artificial markers. In contrast to prior work, our method is able to build absolute scale 3D without the need of a known baseline length, traditionally acquired by odometry. Instead we use the ground plane assumption together with the camera system's height to determine the scale factor. Using only one omnidirectional camera our method is cheaper, more informative and more compact than the traditional methods for distance determination, especially when a robot is already equipped with a camera for e.g. navigation. It also provides more information since it determines distances in a 3D space instead of in one plane. The experiments show promising results. The algorithm is indeed capable of determining the distances in meters to features and obstacles and is able to locate all major obstacles in the scene.
Millnert O., Goedemé T., Tuytelaars T., Van Gool L., Hüntemann A., Nuttin M., ''Range determination for mobile robots using an omnidirectional camera'', Integrated computer-aided engineering - special issue : informatics in control, automation and robotics, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 63-72, 2007, IOS Press.