Combining omnidirectional vision with polarization vision for robot navigation

Abstract : Polarization is the phenomenon that describes the oscillations orientations of the light waves which are restricted in direction. Polarized light has multiple uses in the animal kingdom ranging from foraging, defense and communication to orientation and navigation. Chapter (1) briefly covers some important aspects of polarization and explains our research problem. We are aiming to use a polarimetric-catadioptric sensor since there are many applications which can benefit from such combination in computer vision and robotics specially robot orientation (attitude estimation) and navigation applications. Chapter (2) mainly covers the state of art of visual based attitude estimation.As the unpolarized sunlight enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it is Rayleigh-scattered by air, and it becomes partially linearly polarized. This skylight polarization provides a significant clue to understanding the environment. Its state conveys the information for obtaining the sun orientation. Robot navigation, sensor planning, and many other applications may benefit from using this navigation clue. Chapter (3) covers the state of art in capturing the skylight polarization patterns using omnidirectional sensors (e.g fisheye and catadioptric sensors). It also explains the skylight polarization characteristics and gives a new theoretical derivation of the skylight angle of polarization pattern. Our aim is to obtain an omnidirectional 360 view combined with polarization characteristics. Hence, this work is based on catadioptric sensors which are composed of reflective surfaces and lenses. Usually the reflective surface is metallic and hence the incident skylight polarization state, which is mostly partially linearly polarized, is changed to be elliptically polarized after reflection. Given the measured reflected polarization state, we want to obtain the incident polarization state. Chapter (4) proposes a method to measure the light polarization parameters using a catadioptric sensor. The possibility to measure the incident Stokes is proved given three Stokes out of the four reflected Stokes. Once the incident polarization patterns are available, the solar angles can be directly estimated using these patterns. Chapter (5) discusses polarization based robot orientation and navigation and proposes new algorithms to estimate these solar angles where, to the best of our knowledge, the sun zenith angle is firstly estimated in this work given these incident polarization patterns. We also propose to estimate any vehicle orientation given these polarization patterns. Finally the work is concluded and possible future research directions are discussed in chapter (6). More examples of skylight polarization patterns, their calibration, and the proposed applications are given in appendix (B). Our work may pave the way to move from the conventional polarization vision world to the omnidirectional one. It enables bio-inspired robot orientation and navigation applications and possible outdoor localization based on the skylight polarization patterns where given the solar angles at a certain date and instant of time may infer the current vehicle geographical location.
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Abd El Rahman Shabayek. Combining omnidirectional vision with polarization vision for robot navigation. Other [cs.OH]. Université de Bourgogne, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012DIJOS064⟩. ⟨tel-00866581⟩



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