30 September 2003 Detecting water hazards for autonomous off-road navigation
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Abstract
Detecting water hazards for autonomous, off-road navigation of unmanned ground vehicles is a largely unexplored problem. In this paper, we catalog environmental variables that affect the difficulty of this problem, including day vs. night operation, whether the water reflects sky or other terrain features, the size of the water body, and other factors. We briefly survey sensors that are applicable to detecting water hazards in each of these conditions. We then present analyses and results for water detection for four specific sensor cases: (1) using color image classification to recognize sky reflections in water during the day, (2) using ladar to detect the presense of water bodies and to measure their depth, (3) using short-wave infrared (SWIR) imagery to detect water bodies, as well as snow and ice, and (4) using mid-wave infrared (MWIR) imagery to recognize water bodies at night. For color imagery, we demonstrate solid results with a classifier that runs at nearly video rate on a 433 MHz processor. For ladar, we present a detailed propagation analysis that shows the limits of water body detection and depth estimation as a function of lookahead distance, water depth, and ladar wavelength. For SWIR and MWIR, we present sample imagery from a variety of data collections that illustrate the potential of these sensors. These results demonstrate significant progress on this problem.
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Larry Henry Matthies, Paolo Bellutta, Mike McHenry, "Detecting water hazards for autonomous off-road navigation", Proc. SPIE 5083, Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology V, (30 September 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.496942; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.496942
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