A Knowledge Integration Framework for 3D Shape Reconstruction

Funk, Eugen (2016). A Knowledge Integration Framework for 3D Shape Reconstruction. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000ef57


The modern emergence of automation in many industries has given impetus to extensive research into mobile robotics. Novel perception technologies now enable cars to drive autonomously, tractors to till a field automatically and underwater robots to construct pipelines. An essential requirement to facilitate both perception and autonomous navigation is the analysis of the 3D environment using sensors like laser scanners or stereo cameras. 3D sensors generate a very large number of 3D data points in sampling object shapes within an environment, but crucially do not provide any intrinsic information about the environment in which the robots operate with. This means unstructured 3D samples must be processed by application-specific models to enable a robot, for instance, to detect and identify objects and infer the scene geometry for path-planning more efficiently than by using raw 3D data. This thesis specifically focuses on the fundamental task of 3D shape reconstruction and modelling by presenting a new knowledge integration framework for unstructured 3D samples. The novelty lies in the representation of surfaces by algebraic functions with limited support, which enables the extraction of smooth consistent shapes from noisy samples with a heterogeneous density. Moreover, many surfaces in urban environments can reasonably be assumed to be planar, and the framework exploits this knowledge to enable effective noise suppression without loss of detail. This is achieved by using a convex optimization technique which has linear computational complexity. Thus is much more efficient than existing solutions. The new framework has been validated by critical experimental analysis and evaluation and has been shown to increase the accuracy of the reconstructed shape significantly compared to state-of-the-art methods. Applying this new knowledge integration framework means that less accurate, low-cost 3D sensors can be employed without sacrificing the high demands that 3D perception must achieve. This links well into the area of robotic inspection, as for example regarding small drones that use inaccurate and lightweight image sensors.

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