Towards Reliable Computer Vision in Aviation: An Evaluation of Sensor Fusion and Quality Assessment
Abstract: Research conducted in the aviation industry includes two major areas, increased safety and a reduction of the environmental footprint. This thesis investigates the possibilities of increased situational awareness with computer vision in avionics systems. Image fusion methods are evaluated with appropriate pre-processing of three image sensors, one in the visual spectrum and two in the infra-red spectrum. The sensor setup is chosen to cope with the different weather and operational conditions of an aircraft, with a focus on the final approach and landing phases. Extensive image quality assessment metrics derived from a systematic review is applied to provide a precise evaluation of the image quality of the fusion methods. A total of four image fusion methods are evaluated, where two are convolutional network-based, using the networks for feature extraction in the detailed layers. Other approaches with visual saliency maps and sparse representation are also evaluated. With methods implemented in MATLAB, results show that a conventional method implementing a rolling guidance filter for layer separation and visual saliency map provides the best results. The results are further confirmed with a subjective ranking test, where the image quality of the fusion methods is evaluated further.
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