Characteristics of optical flow from aerial thermal imaging,“thermal flow”

Article


Nguyen, Tran Xuan Bach, Rosser, Kent, Perera, Asanka, Moss, Philip, Teague, Sam and Chahl, Javaan. 2022. "Characteristics of optical flow from aerial thermal imaging,“thermal flow”." Journal of Field Robotics. 39 (5), pp. 580-599. https://doi.org/10.1002/rob.22065
Article Title

Characteristics of optical flow from aerial thermal imaging,“thermal flow”

ERA Journal ID3612
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsNguyen, Tran Xuan Bach, Rosser, Kent, Perera, Asanka, Moss, Philip, Teague, Sam and Chahl, Javaan
Journal TitleJournal of Field Robotics
Journal Citation39 (5), pp. 580-599
Number of Pages20
Year2022
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN1556-4959
1556-4967
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/rob.22065
Web Address (URL)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/rob.22065
Abstract

This study explores the utility of optical flow calculated from thermal imaging cameras, “thermal flow,” mounted on an aircraft for localization in day and night conditions. Our sensor implementation utilizes a long wave infrared (LWIR) micro sensor to capture sequences of thermal images and an on-board computer to compute an optical flow estimate. We compared the performance of optical flow from the LWIR camera with the output of visible spectrum optical flow sensor. Flights were conducted spanning a 24 h window to explore how thermal flow performs relative to optical flow as the ground heats and cools. Agreement between optical and thermal flow was found during daylight when both sensors were functional. Additionally, thermal flow results were reliable in the middle of the day through to late evening, gradually degrading until shortly after sunrise.

Keywordsaircraft; LWIR; navigation; optical flow; thermal imaging; UAV
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 20204007. Control engineering, mechatronics and robotics
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of South Australia
Defence Science and Technology Group, Australia
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