Machine Vision and Applications

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 8–20 | Cite as

Automatic fog detection and estimation of visibility distance through use of an onboard camera

  • Nicolas HautiéreEmail author
  • Jean-Philippe Tarel
  • Jean Lavenant
  • Didier Aubert
Regular Paper


In this paper, we will present a technique for measuring visibility distances under foggy weather conditions using a camera mounted onboard a moving vehicle. Our research has focused in particular on the problem of detecting daytime fog and estimating visibility distances; thanks to these efforts, an original method has been developed, tested and patented. The approach consists of dynamically implementing Koschmieder's law. Our method enables computing the meteorological visibility distance, a measure defined by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) as the distance beyond which a black object of an appropriate dimension is perceived with a contrast of less than 5%. Our proposed solution is an original one, featuring the advantage of utilizing a single camera and necessitating the presence of just the road and sky in the scene. As opposed to other methods that require the explicit extraction of the road, this method offers fewer constraints by virtue of being applicable with no more than the extraction of a homogeneous surface containing a portion of the road and sky within the image. This image preprocessing also serves to identify the level of compatibility of the processed image with the set of Koschmieder's model hypotheses.


Visibility distance Fog detection Koschmieder's law Intelligent transport Driving assistance Region growing Real-time image processing 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Cavallo, V., Colomb, M., Doré, J.: Distance perception of vehicle rear lights in fog. Hum. Factors 43, 442–451 (2001)CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dumont, E., Cavallo, V.: Extended photometric model of fog effects on road vision. Transp. Res. Records: J. Transp. Res. Board (1862), 77–81 (2004)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jaruwatanadilok, S., Ishimaru, A., Kuga, Y.: Optical imaging through clouds and fog. IEEE Trans. Geos. Remote Sens. 41(8), 1834–1843 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Middleton, W.: Vision Through the Atmosphere. University of Toronto Press, Toronto (1952)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    International lighting vocabulary. 17.4. Commission Internationale de l'Éclairage (1987)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Narasimhan, S.G., Nayar, S.K.: Contrast restoration of weather degraded images. IEEE Trans. Pattern Anal. Mach. Intell. 25(6), 713–724 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bush, C., Debes, E.: Wavelet transform for analyzing fog visibility. IEEE Intell. Syst. 13(6), 66–71 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Pomerleau, D.: Visibility estimation from a moving vehicle using the ralph vision system. IEEE Conf. Intell. Transp. Syst. 906–911 (1997)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Tarel, J., Aubert, D., Guichard, F.: Tracking occluded lane-markings for lateral vehicle guidance. IEEE CSCC'99 (1999)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Deriche, R.: Using Canny's criteria to derive an optimal edge detector recursively implemented. Int. J. Comput. Vision 2(1) (1987)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nagao, M., Matsuyama, T.: Edge preserving smoothing. Comput. Graphics Image Process. 9, 394–407 (1979)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Demigny, D., Devars, J., Kessal, L., Quesne, J.: Real time implementation of the nagao image smoothing filter. Trait. Signal 10(4), 319–330 (1993)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lavenant, J., Tarel, J.-P., Aubert, D.: Procédé de détermination de la distance de visibilité et procédé de détermination de la présenced′un brouillard. French patent 0201822 LCPC / INRETS, (February 2002)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolas Hautiére
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean-Philippe Tarel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jean Lavenant
    • 1
    • 3
  • Didier Aubert
    • 1
  1. 1.LIVIC, a joint INRETS-LCPC entityVersailles-SatoryFrance
  2. 2.LCPC (DESE)Paris, Cedex 15France
  3. 3.SETRA (CITS)Bagneux CedexFrance

Personalised recommendations