The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
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Research Paper #675

Title:Real Time Optical Flow Based Range Sensing on Mobile Robots
Authors:Perkins,SJ; Hayes,GM
Date:Jan 1994
Presented:Submitted to the International Workshop on Intelligent Robotic Systems '94, Grenoble.
Abstract:The idea of using the optical flow generated by an observer's motion to determine the 3D structure of the local environment has been around for a long time. However, implementing this idea on autonomous mobile robotic platforms working in real time has proved to be quite difficult due to the large amount of processing power needed and the difficulty of getting accurate measurements. In this paper we explain how an active vision approach can be used to greatly improve the roboustness of the results and simplify the processing required. The approach is used to implement a real time optical flow based range sensor on a mobile robot equipped with only modest computing resources. We demonstrate how this sensor can be used as the basis of a simple but effective vision-based navigation behaviour.

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