Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Engineering

Department

Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Ruigang Yang

Abstract

This dissertation addresses the problem of inferring scene depth information from a collection of calibrated images taken from different viewpoints via stereo matching. Although it has been heavily investigated for decades, depth from stereo remains a long-standing challenge and popular research topic for several reasons. First of all, in order to be of practical use for many real-time applications such as autonomous driving, accurate depth estimation in real-time is of great importance and one of the core challenges in stereo. Second, for applications such as 3D reconstruction and view synthesis, high-quality depth estimation is crucial to achieve photo realistic results. However, due to the matching ambiguities, accurate dense depth estimates are difficult to achieve. Last but not least, most stereo algorithms rely on identification of corresponding points among images and only work effectively when scenes are Lambertian. For non-Lambertian surfaces, the "brightness constancy" assumption is no longer valid. This dissertation contributes three novel stereo algorithms that are motivated by the specific requirements and limitations imposed by different applications.

In addressing high speed depth estimation from images, we present a stereo algorithm that achieves high quality results while maintaining real-time performance. We introduce an adaptive aggregation step in a dynamic-programming framework. Matching costs are aggregated in the vertical direction using a computationally expensive weighting scheme based on color and distance proximity. We utilize the vector processing capability and parallelism in commodity graphics hardware to speed up this process over two orders of magnitude.

In addressing high accuracy depth estimation, we present a stereo model that makes use of constraints from points with known depths - the Ground Control Points (GCPs) as referred to in stereo literature. Our formulation explicitly models the influences of GCPs in a Markov Random Field. A novel regularization prior is naturally integrated into a global inference framework in a principled way using the Bayes rule. Our probabilistic framework allows GCPs to be obtained from various modalities and provides a natural way to integrate information from various sensors.

In addressing non-Lambertian reflectance, we introduce a new invariant for stereo correspondence which allows completely arbitrary scene reflectance (bidirectional reflectance distribution functions - BRDFs). This invariant can be used to formulate a rank constraint on stereo matching when the scene is observed by several lighting configurations in which only the lighting intensity varies.

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