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Integration of the 3D Environment for UAV Onboard Visual Object Tracking

: Vujasinovic, Stéphane; Becker, Stefan; Breuer, Timo; Bullinger, Sebastian; Scherer-Negenborn, Norbert; Arens, Michael

Fulltext ()

Applied Sciences 10 (2020), No.21, Art. 7622, 22 pp.
ISSN: 2076-3417
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IOSB ()

Single visual object tracking from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) poses fundamental challenges such as object occlusion, small-scale objects, background clutter, and abrupt camera motion. To tackle these difficulties, we propose to integrate the 3D structure of the observed scene into a detection-by-tracking algorithm. We introduce a pipeline that combines a model-free visual object tracker, a sparse 3D reconstruction, and a state estimator. The 3D reconstruction of the scene is computed with an image-based Structure-from-Motion (SfM) component that enables us to leverage a state estimator in the corresponding 3D scene during tracking. By representing the position of the target in 3D space rather than in image space, we stabilize the tracking during ego-motion and improve the handling of occlusions, background clutter, and small-scale objects. We evaluated our approach on prototypical image sequences, captured from a UAV with low-altitude oblique views. For this purpose, we adapted an existing dataset for visual object tracking and reconstructed the observed scene in 3D. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed approach outperforms methods using plain visual cues as well as approaches leveraging image-space-based state estimations. We believe that our approach can be beneficial for traffic monitoring, video surveillance, and navigation.