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Color-based underwater object recognition using water light attenuation

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In this article we present a new approach for object recognition in a robotic underwater context. Color is an attractive feature because of its simplicity and its robustness to scale changes, object positions and partial occlusions. Unfortunately, in the underwater medium, the colors are modified by attenuation and are not constant with the distance. To perform a color-based recognition of an object, we develop an algorithm robust with respect to the attenuation which takes into account the light modification during its path between the light source and the camera. Therefore, a given underwater object can be identified in an image by detecting all the colors compatible with its prior known color. Our method is fast, robust and needs a very few computers resources. We successfully used it when experimenting in the sea using a system we built. It is suitable for robotic applications where computers resources are limited and shared between various embedded devices. This novel concept enables the use of the color in many applications such as target interception, object tracking or obstacle detection.

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Correspondence to Stéphane Bazeille.

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Bazeille, S., Quidu, I. & Jaulin, L. Color-based underwater object recognition using water light attenuation. Intel Serv Robotics 5, 109–118 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11370-012-0105-3

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  • Vision
  • Color
  • Light attenuation
  • Underwater robot