Optical Flow Templates for Superpixel Labeling in Autonomous Robot Navigation
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Instantaneous image motion in a camera on-board a mobile robot contains rich information about the structure of the environment. We present a new framework, optical flow templates, for capturing this information and an experimental proof-of-concept that labels superpixels using them. Optical flow templates encode the possible optical flow fields due to egomotion for a specific environment shape and robot attitude. We label optical flow in superpixels with the environment shape they image according to how consistent they are with each template. Specifically, in this paper we employ templates highly relevant to mobile robot navigation. Image regions consistent with ground plane and distant structure templates likely indicate free and traversable space, while image regions consistent with neither of these are likely to be nearby objects that are obstacles. We evaluate our method qualitatively and quantitatively in an urban driving scenario, labeling the ground plane, and obstacles such as passing cars, lamp posts, and parked cars. One key advantage of this framework is low computational complexity, and we demonstrate per-frame computation times of 20ms, excluding optical flow and superpixel calculation.