Hybrid Marker-less Camera Pose Tracking with Integrated Sensor Fusion
This thesis presents a framework for a hybrid model-free marker-less inertial-visual camera pose tracking with an integrated sensor fusion mechanism. The proposed solution addresses the fundamental problem of pose recovery in computer vision and robotics and provides an improved solution for wide-area pose tracking that can be used on mobile platforms and in real-time applications. In order to arrive at a suitable pose tracking algorithm, an in-depth investigation was conducted into current methods and sensors used for pose tracking. Preliminary experiments were then carried out on hybrid GPS-Visual as well as wireless micro-location tracking in order to evaluate their suitability for camera tracking in wide-area or GPS-denied environments. As a result of this investigation a combination of an inertial measurement unit and a camera was chosen as the primary sensory inputs for a hybrid camera tracking system. After following a thorough modelling and mathematical formulation process, a novel and improved hybrid tracking framework was designed, developed and evaluated. The resulting system incorporates an inertial system, a vision-based system and a recursive particle filtering-based stochastic data fusion and state estimation algorithm. The core of the algorithm is a state-space model for motion kinematics which, combined with the principles of multi-view camera geometry and the properties of optical flow and focus of expansion, form the main components of the proposed framework. The proposed solution incorporates a monitoring system, which decides on the best method of tracking at any given time based on the reliability of the fresh vision data provided by the vision-based system, and automatically switches between visual and inertial tracking as and when necessary. The system also includes a novel and effective self-adjusting mechanism, which detects when the newly captured sensory data can be reliably used to correct the past pose estimates. The corrected state is then propagated through to the current time in order to prevent sudden pose estimation errors manifesting as a permanent drift in the tracking output. Following the design stage, the complete system was fully developed and then evaluated using both synthetic and real data. The outcome shows an improved performance compared to existing techniques, such as PTAM and SLAM. The low computational cost of the algorithm enables its application on mobile devices, while the integrated self-monitoring, self-adjusting mechanisms allow for its potential use in wide-area tracking applications.
- PhD 
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