Abstract

Skylight polarization is used for navigation by some birds and insects. Skylight polarization also has potential for human navigation applications. Its advantages include relative immunity from interference and the absence of error accumulation over time. However, there are presently few examples of practical applications for polarization navigation technology. The main reason is its weak robustness during cloudy weather conditions. In this paper, the real-time measurement of the sky light polarization pattern across the sky has been achieved with a wide field of view camera. The images were processed under a new reference coordinate system to clearly display the symmetrical distribution of angle of polarization with respect to the solar meridian. A new algorithm for the extraction of the image axis of symmetry is proposed, in which the real-time azimuth angle between the camera and the solar meridian is accurately calculated. Our experimental results under different weather conditions show that polarization navigation has high accuracy, is strongly robust, and performs well during fog and haze, clouds, and strong sunlight.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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