Oriented Planetary Exploration Robotic Vision Binocular Camera Calibration

Oriented Planetary Exploration Robotic Vision Binocular Camera Calibration

Chen Gui (Chongqing University of Science and Technology, Chongqing, China), Jun Peng (Chongqing University of Science and Technology, Chongqing, China) and Zuojin Li (Chongqing University of Science and Technology, Chongqing, China)
DOI: 10.4018/ijcini.2013100105


One of the goals of planetary exploration is to cache rock samples for subsequent return to Earth in the future Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission. This paper presents a method of binocular camera calibration. Robotic vision has become a very popular field in recent years due to the numerous promising applications it may enhance. However, errors within the cameras and in their perception of their environment can cause applications in robotics to fail. To help correct these intrinsic and extrinsic imperfections, stereo camera calibrations are performed. There are currently many accurate methods of camera calibration available; however, most or all of them are barely theoretical and difficultly practical. Because the authors' robot need to accurately approach and placement scientific objects, in this paper the authors present an image rectification method that is an extension to two-step method. There is an additional step for correcting the distorted image coordinates. The image rectification is performed and accurately compensates for radial and tangential distortions. Finally, through Matlab tool developed the results of experiment are accurate and available.
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The Mars Sample Return (MRS) mission plans to collect samples of Martian rocks, soil and gas for returning to Earth and carrying out scientific analysis (iMARS, 2008; National, 2011). In Mars rover missions ExoMars is the forthcoming ESA/Roscosmos 2016 and 2018 missions, which can be regarded as precursor missions to MSR. The first mission which is to carry a Trace Gas Orbiter and an Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM) will be launched and reach Mars in 2016. The second mission will carry a large capsule with a surface science platform and a rover to Mars in 2018. For achieving the purposes, it is of foremost importance that we find the targets having science interesting. Thus, camera calibration is essential to find the targets.

Robotic vision has very promising implications in both research and industry. Among the benefits derived from this technology is the ability to have a robot recognize objects and determine the objects’ relative locations (Faugeras, 1993). Depth perception can be especially useful in mobile robots and in robots requiring hand-eye coordination (see Figure 1). To facilitate the task of object detection, a pair of cameras can be used to implement stereo vision, in which triangulation between the two cameras and the object determines the location of the object relative to the cameras’ internal coordinate systems. A system capable of using vision much like that of humans, though perhaps even more precise, opens worlds of possibilities. However, the practical applications of robotic vision are still quite limited, due in part to imperfections in system design, process implementation, and analysis software. Two of the biggest flaws encountered are distortion in the lenses or other internal devices and errors in the system’s view of the location of these cameras in the workspace. Intrinsic parameters are used to model the imaging process, and extrinsic parameters are used to model the camera’s location in its environment (Wei & Ma, 1994). Camera calibration for stereo pairs of cameras determines values for both intrinsic and extrinsic parameters, and then uses software in the processor to internally correct the errors (Faugeras & Toscani, 1986). Without calibration, the image delivered to the robot may be inaccurate, and the robot’s response is likely to be proportionally skewed. Therefore, it is important to implement an accurate calibration method before stereo vision is used in robotic applications (Tsai et al., 1986).

Figure 1.

Our demonstration rover platform with stereo pairs of cameras (a wide-angle camera (WAC)) and a 3-DOF arm

In the paper we present a image rectification method that is an extension to the two-step procedure and is more accurate. The first subsection of the next section describes the closed-form solution to the problem using a direct linear transformation (DLT). The next subsection then briefly discuss the nonlinear parameter estimation. The section following that solves the image rectification problem. Image rectification is performed by using a new model that interpolates the correct image points based on the physical camera parameters derived in previous steps. A complete Matlab toolbox is performed for this calibration procedure, the results of which will be available through the experiments.

Explicit Camera Calibration

Physical camera parameters are commonly divided into extrinsic and intrinsic parameters. Extrinsic parameters are needed to transform object coordinates to a camera centered coordinate frame. In multi-camera systems, the extrinsic parameters also describe the relationship between the cameras. The pinhole camera model is based on the principle of collinearity, where each point in the object space is projected by a straight line through the projection center into the image plane. The origin of the camera coordinate system is in the projection center at the location (X0,Y0, Z0) with respect to the object coordinate system, and the z-axis of the camera frame is perpendicular to the image plane. The rotation is represented using Euler angles , and . that define a sequence of three elementary rotations around x, y, z-axis respectively. The rotations are performed clockwise, first around the x-axis, then the y-axis that is already once rotated, and finally around the z-axis that is twice rotated during the previous stages.

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