A laser range sensor directly produces 3-D information of a scene. Each pixel of a scanned scene is the range from the sensor to the nearest scene point at a particular azimuth and depression angle. This range information can be used to identify 3-D features in the scene which may be associated with buildings, roads, vehicles, etc. Such 3-D features can be identified easily and reliabily with range images, rather than using techniques based on 2-D images (such as stereo). This paper describes the approaches developed at the Lockheed Signal Processing Laboratory for identifying features in range images of buildings and vehicles. In the building scenario the features are matched to a model for either a terminal homing application or for a navigation update. In the vehicle scenario particular vehicles must be identified from a background of potentially rough terrain containing other vehicles as well as trees, shrubs, rocks, etc.
C. M. Bjorklund,
R. S. Loe,
"Target Identification Using Three-Dimensional Features", Proc. SPIE 0367, Processing and Display of Three-Dimensional Data, (8 April 1983); doi: 10.1117/12.934300; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.934300