Abstract

A method that uses a moving panoramic visual sensor to estimate range is presented. Range estimation is based on the fact that local, motion-induced deformation of the panoramic image is range dependent, regardless of the nature of the deformation. The nature of the deformation depends on azimuthal viewing direction: It is an expansion in the direction of motion, a contraction in the opposite direction, a translation for viewing directions perpendicular to the motion, and a complex deformation along other viewing directions. Range in each direction is estimated by comparing the magnitude of the image deformation measured in that direction with the magnitude of the deformation that would be produced by a surface at a known, standard, minimum range. The local image deformation is measured by using a version of the image interpolation algorithm. The results of this technique are a uniform and efficient treatment of the entire panoramic image and a robust estimation of range in every direction. With this method a single translatory motion provides range information along every azimuthal direction.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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