, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 119-152

Iterative point matching for registration of free-form curves and surfaces

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Abstract

A heuristic method has been developed for registering two sets of 3-D curves obtained by using an edge-based stereo system, or two dense 3-D maps obtained by using a correlation-based stereo system. Geometric matching in general is a difficult unsolved problem in computer vision. Fortunately, in many practical applications, some a priori knowledge exists which considerably simplifies the problem. In visual navigation, for example, the motion between successive positions is usually approximately known. From this initial estimate, our algorithm computes observer motion with very good precision, which is required for environment modeling (e.g., building a Digital Elevation Map). Objects are represented by a set of 3-D points, which are considered as the samples of a surface. No constraint is imposed on the form of the objects. The proposed algorithm is based on iteratively matching points in one set to the closest points in the other. A statistical method based on the distance distribution is used to deal with outliers, occlusion, appearance and disappearance, which allows us to do subset-subset matching. A least-squares technique is used to estimate 3-D motion from the point correspondences, which reduces the average distance between points in the two sets. Both synthetic and real data have been used to test the algorithm, and the results show that it is efficient and robust, and yields an accurate motion estimate.