Machine vision and applications vol:14 issue:1 pages:5-14
In this paper, we present a system that was developed for the European Space Agency (ESA) for the support of planetary exploration. The system that is sent to the planetary surface consists of a rover and a lander. The lander contains a stereo head equipped with a pan-tilt mechanism. This vision system is used both for modeling the terrain and for localization of the rover. Both tasks are necessary for the navigation of the rover. Due to the stress that occurs during the flight, a recalibration of the stereo-vision system is required once it is deployed on the planet. Practical limitations make it unfeasible to use a known calibration pattern for this purpose; therefore, a new calibration procedure had to be developed that could work on images of the planetary environment. This automatic procedure recovers the relative orientation of the cameras and the pan and tilt axes, as well as the exterior orientation for all the images. The same images are subsequently used to reconstruct the 3-D structure of the terrain. For this purpose, a dense stereo-matching algorithm is used that (after rectification) computes a disparity map. Finally, all the disparity maps are merged into a single digital terrain model. In this paper, a simple and elegant procedure is proposed that achieves that goal. The fact that the same images can be used for both calibration and 3-D reconstruction is important, since, in general, the communication bandwidth is very limited. In addition to navigation and path planning, the 3-D model of the terrain is also used for virtual-reality simulations of the mission, wherein the model is texture mapped with the original images. The system has been implemented, and the first tests on the ESA planetary terrain testbed were successful.
Vergauwen M., Pollefeys M., Van Gool L., ''A stereo-vision system for support of planetary surface exploration'', Machine vision and applications, an international journal, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 5-14, April 2003.