A new computationally efficient framework for vehicle tracking on a mobile platform is proposed. The principal component of the framework is the log-polar transformation applied to video frames captured from a standard uniformly sampled format camera. The log-polar transformation provides two major benefits to real-time vehicle tracking from a mobile vehicle platform moving along a single or multi-lane road. First, it significantly reduces the amount of data required to be processed since it collapses the original Cartesian video frames into log-polar images with much smaller dimensions. Second, the log-polar transformation is capable of mitigating perspective distortion due to its scale invariance property. This second aspect is of interest for vehicle tracking because the target vehicle appearance is preserved for all distances from the observer (camera). This works however only if the center of log-polar transformation is coincident with the vanishing point of perspective view. Therefore, a road following algorithm is proposed to keep the center of log-polar transform on the vanishing point at every video frame compensating for the carrying vehicle movements. Since the algorithm is intended to be used in the mobile embedded devices, it is developed to achieve both mathematical simplicity and algorithmic efficiency while avoiding computationally expensive mathematical functions. The use of trigonometric and exponential functions is minimized comparing to the log-Hough transform traditionally used in log-polar space. This new algorithm focuses on straight radial line fragments, thus shifting its mathematical engine to the linear equations' domain.
The present work addresses the design of an image acquisition front-end for target detection and tracking within a wide range of distances. Inspired by raptor bird's vision, a novel design for a visual sensor is proposed. The sensor consists of two parts, each originating from the studies of biological vision systems of different species. The front end is comprised of a set of video cameras imitating a falconiform eye, in particular its optics and retina . The back end is a software remapper that uses a popular in machine vision log-polar model of retino-cortical projection in primates , , . The output of this sensor is a composite log-polar image incorporating both near and far visual fields into a single homogeneous image space. In such space it is easier to perform target detection and tracking for those applications that deal with targets moving along the camera axis. The target object preserves its shape and size being handled seamlessly between cameras regardless of distance to the composite sensor. The prototype of proposed composite sensor has been created and is used as a front-end in experimental mobile vehicle detection and tracking system. Its has been tested inside a driving simulator and results are presented.
First responders to a major incident include many different agencies. These may include law enforcement officers, multiple fire departments, paramedics, HAZMAT response teams, and possibly even federal personnel such as FBI and FEMA. Often times multiple jurisdictions respond to the incident which causes interoperability issues with respect to communication and dissemination of time critical information. Accurate information from all responding sources needs to be rapidly collected and made available to the current on site responders as well as the follow-on responders who may just be arriving on scene. The creation of a common central database with a simple easy to use interface that is dynamically updated in real time would allow prompt and efficient information distribution between different jurisdictions. Such a system is paramount to the success of any response to a major incident. First responders typically arrive in mobile vehicles that are equipped with communications equipment. Although the first responders may make reports back to their specific home based command centers, the details of those reports are not typically available to other first responders who are not a part of that agencies infrastructure. Furthermore, the collection of information often occurs outside of the first responder vehicle and the details of the scene are normally either radioed from the field or written down and then disseminated after significant delay. Since first responders are not usually on the same communications channels, and the fact that there is normally a considerable amount of confusion during the first few hours on scene, it would be beneficial if there were a centralized location for the repository of time critical information which could be accessed by all the first responders in a common fashion without having to redesign or add significantly to each first responders hardware/software systems. Each first responder would then be able to provide information regarding their particular situation and such information could be accessed by all responding personnel. This will require the transmission of information provided by the first responder to a common central database system. In order to fully investigate the use of technology, it is advantageous to build a test bed in order to evaluate the proper hardware/software necessary, and explore the envisioned scenarios of operation before deployment of an actual system. This paper describes an ongoing effort at the University of New Hampshire to address these emergency responder needs.