Stereoscopic methods for high-performance object detection and distance estimation : extending visual environment perception for intelligent vehicles

  • Powerful environment perception systems are a fundamental prerequisite for the successful deployment of intelligent vehicles, from advanced driver assistance systems to self-driving cars. Arguably the most essential task of such systems is the reliable detection and localization of obstacles in order to avoid collisions. Two particularly challenging scenarios in this context are represented by small, unexpected obstacles on the road ahead, and by potentially dynamic objects observed from a large distance. Both scenarios become exceedingly critical when the ego-vehicle is traveling at high speed. As a consequence, two major requirements placed on environment perception systems are the capability of (a) high-sensitivity generic object detection and (b) high-accuracy obstacle distance estimation. The present thesis addresses both requirements by proposing novel approaches based on stereo vision for spatial perception. First, this work presents a novel method for the detection of small, generic obstacles and objects at long range directly from stereo imagery. The detection is based on sound statistical tests using local geometric criteria which are applicable to both static and moving objects. The approach is not limited to predefined sets of semantic object classes and does not rely on restrictive assumptions on the environment, such as oversimplified global ground surface models. Free-space and obstacle hypotheses are evaluated based on a statistical model of the input image data in order to avoid a loss of sensitivity through intermediate processing steps. In addition to the detection result, the algorithm simultaneously yields refined estimates of object distances, originating from an implicit optimization of the geometric obstacle hypothesis models. The proposed detection system provides multiple flexible output representations, ranging from 3D obstacle point clouds to compact mid-level obstacle segments to bounding box representations of object instances suitable for model-based tracking. The core algorithm concept lends itself to massive parallelization and can be implemented efficiently on dedicated hardware. Real-time execution is demonstrated on a test vehicle in real-world traffic. For a thorough quantitative evaluation of the detection performance, two dedicated datasets are employed, covering small and hard-to-detect obstacles in urban environments as well as distant dynamic objects in highway driving scenarios. The proposed system is shown to significantly outperform current general purpose obstacle detection approaches in both setups, providing a considerable increase in detection range while reducing the false positive rate at the same time. Second, this work considers the high-accuracy estimation of object distances from stereo vision, particularly at long range. Several new methods for optimizing the stereo-based distance estimates of detected objects are proposed and compared to state-of-the-art concepts. A comprehensive statistical evaluation is performed on an extensive dedicated dataset, establishing reference values for the accuracy limits actually achievable in practice. Notably, the refined distance estimates implicitly provided by the proposed obstacle detection system are shown to yield highly accurate results, on par with the top-performing dedicated stereo matching algorithms considered in the analysis.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar
Author:Peter Pinggera
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Rudolf Mester, Bastian LeibeORCiDGND
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2018/06/11
Year of first Publication:2018
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2018/05/09
Release Date:2018/06/14
Page Number:xxiv, 139
Institutes:Informatik und Mathematik
Dewey Decimal Classification:0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 004 Datenverarbeitung; Informatik
5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 51 Mathematik / 510 Mathematik
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht