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Design of Stereo Perception Systems for Automation of Off-road Vehicles

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  073126.(doi:10.13031/2013.22949)
Authors:   Francisco Rovira-Más, Qi Wang, Qin Zhang
Keywords:   Machine vision, Stereo vision, Binocular cameras, Off-road machines, Vehicle perception and localization, Three-dimensional point cloud

Localization and safeguarding are two basic functions that need to be integrated in intelligent machines. Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS suffer from reliability problems caused by a lack of consistency in the signal that results in a necessity for sensor redundancy in vehicle localization. Perception, on the other hand, cannot be achieved through satellite systems and requires the aid of local sensors such as cameras, lasers or ultrasonics. Consequently, localization and safeguarding both benefit from local positioning and short-range perception. Stereo vision is becoming a preferred option to fulfill that mission due to the advantage of providing the three dimensional visualization of the targeted scene. However, it possesses the disadvantage of difficult data processing and handling, together with the absence of a systematic procedure to determine the most efficient system architecture. Because of the novelty of commercial solutions, there are no clear directions in terms of assembling stereo perception engines. The objective of this paper is to provide a set of recommendations on the configuration of stereo-based perception systems to assist intelligent off-road machines. To do so, several experiments were conducted in which different combinations of camera-lens-range were studied. Results showed that, in real-time applications, ranges up to 15 meters can be sensed with acceptable accuracy using off-the-shelf compact binocular cameras.

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