A three stage process for compressing real time color imagery by factors in the range of 1600-to-i is proposed for remote driving'. The key is to match the resolution gradient of human vision and preserve only those cues important for driving. Some hardware components have been built and a research prototype is planned.
Stage 1 is log polar mapping, which reduces peripheral image sampling resolution to match the peripheral gradient in human visual acuity. This can yield 25-to-i compression. Stage 2 partitions color and contrast into separate channels. This can yield 8-to-i compression. Stage 3 is conventional block data compression such as hybrid DCT/DPCM which can yield 8-to-i compression. The product of all three stages is i600-to-i data compression.
The compressed signal can be transmitted over FM bands which do not require line-of-sight, greatly increasing the range of operation and reducing the topographic exposure of teleoperated vehicles. Since the compressed channel data contains the essential constituents of human visual perception, imagery reconstructed by inverting each of the three compression stages is perceived as complete, provided the operator's direction of gaze is at the center of the mapping. This can be achieved by eye-tracker feedback which steers the center of log polar mapping in the remote vehicle to match the teleoperator's direction of gaze.