Imagery sensors have been one indispensable part of the detection and recognition systems. They are widely used to the field of surveillance, navigation, control and guide, et. However, different imagery sensors depend on diverse imaging mechanisms, and work within diverse range of spectrum. They also perform diverse functions and have diverse circumstance requires. So it is unpractical to accomplish the task of detection or recognition with a single imagery sensor under the conditions of different circumstances, different backgrounds and different targets. Fortunately, the multi-sensor image fusion technique emerged as important route to solve this problem. So image fusion has been one of the main technical routines used to detect and recognize objects from images. While, loss of information is unavoidable during fusion process, so it is always a very important content of image fusion how to preserve the useful information to the utmost. That is to say, it should be taken into account before designing the fusion schemes how to avoid the loss of useful information or how to preserve the features helpful to the detection.
In consideration of these issues and the fact that most detection problems are actually to distinguish man-made objects from natural background, a fractal-based multi-spectral fusion algorithm has been proposed in this paper aiming at the recognition of battlefield targets in the complicated backgrounds. According to this algorithm, source images are firstly orthogonally decomposed according to wavelet transform theories, and then fractal-based detection is held to each decomposed image. At this step, natural background and man-made targets are distinguished by use of fractal models that can well imitate natural objects. Special fusion operators are employed during the fusion of area that contains man-made targets so that useful information could be preserved and features of targets could be extruded. The final fused image is reconstructed from the composition of source pyramid images. So this fusion scheme is a multi-resolution analysis.
The wavelet decomposition of image can be actually considered as special pyramid decomposition. According to wavelet decomposition theories, the approximation of image (formula available in paper) at resolution 2j+1 equal to its orthogonal projection in space , that is,
where Ajf is the low-frequency approximation of image f(x, y) at resolution 2j and , , represent the vertical, horizontal and diagonal wavelet coefficients respectively at resolution 2j. These coefficients describe the high-frequency information of image at direction of vertical, horizontal and diagonal respectively. Ajf, , and are independent and can be considered as images. In this paper J is set to be 1, so the source image is decomposed to produce the son-images Af, D1f, D2f and D3f.
To solve the problem of detecting artifacts, the concepts of vertical fractal dimension FD1, horizontal fractal dimension FD2 and diagonal fractal dimension FD3 are proposed in this paper. The vertical fractal dimension FD1 corresponds to the vertical wavelet coefficients image after the wavelet decomposition of source image, the horizontal fractal dimension FD2 corresponds to the horizontal wavelet coefficients and the diagonal fractal dimension FD3 the diagonal one. These definitions enrich the illustration of source images. Therefore they are helpful to classify the targets. Then the detection of artifacts in the decomposed images is a problem of pattern recognition in 4-D space. The combination of FD0, FD1, FD2 and FD3 make a vector of (FD0, FD1, FD2, FD3), which can be considered as a united feature vector of the studied image. All the parts of the images are classified in the 4-D pattern space created by the vector of (FD0, FD1, FD2, FD3) so that the area that contains man-made objects could be detected. This detection can be considered as a coarse recognition, and then the significant areas in each son-images are signed so that they can be dealt with special rules.
There has been various fusion rules developed with each one aiming at a special problem. These rules have different performance, so it is very important to select an appropriate rule during the design of an image fusion system. Recent research denotes that the rule should be adjustable so that it is always suitable to extrude the features of targets and to preserve the pixels of useful information. In this paper, owing to the consideration that fractal dimension is one of the main features to distinguish man-made targets from natural objects, the fusion rule was defined that if the studied region of image contains man-made target, the pixels of the source image whose fractal dimension is minimal are saved to be the pixels of the fused image, otherwise, a weighted average operator is adopted to avoid loss of information. The main idea of this rule is to store the pixels with low fractal dimensions, so it can be named Minimal Fractal dimensions (MFD) fusion rule.
This fractal-based algorithm is compared with a common weighted average fusion algorithm. An objective assessment is taken to the two fusion results. The criteria of Entropy, Cross-Entropy, Peak Signal-to-Noise Ratio (PSNR) and Standard Gray Scale Difference are defined in this paper. Reversely to the idea of constructing an ideal image as the assessing reference, the source images are selected to be the reference in this paper. It can be deemed that this assessment is to calculate how much the image quality has been enhanced and the quantity of information has been increased when the fused image is compared with the source images.
The experimental results imply that the fractal-based multi-spectral fusion algorithm can effectively preserve the information of man-made objects with a high contrast. It is proved that this algorithm could well preserve features of military targets because that battlefield targets are most man-made objects and in common their images differ from fractal models obviously. Furthermore, the fractal features are not sensitive to the imaging conditions and the movement of targets, so this fractal-based algorithm may be very practical.