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Section: Scientific Foundations

Visual tracking

Elaboration of object tracking algorithms in image sequences is an important issue for researches and applications related to visual servoing and more generally for robot vision. A robust extraction and real-time spatio-temporal tracking process of visual cues is indeed one of the keys to success of a visual servoing task. To consider visual servoing within large scale applications, it is mandatory to handle natural scenes without any fiducial markers but with complex objects in various illumination conditions. If fiducial markers may still be useful to validate theoretical aspects of visual servoing in modeling and control, non cooperative objects have to be considered to address realistic applications.

Most of the available tracking methods can be divided into two main classes: feature-based and model-based. The former approach focuses on tracking 2D features such as geometrical primitives (points, segments, circles,...), object contours, regions of interest...The latter explicitly uses a model of the tracked objects. This can be either a 3D model or a 2D template of the object. This second class of methods usually provides a more robust solution. Indeed, the main advantage of the model-based methods is that the knowledge about the scene allows improving tracking robustness and performance, by being able to predict hidden movements of the object, detect partial occlusions and acts to reduce the effects of outliers. The challenge is to build algorithms that are fast and robust enough to meet our applications requirements. Therefore, even if we still consider 2D features tracking in some cases, our researches mainly focus on real-time 3D model-based tracking, since these approaches are very accurate, robust, and well adapted to any class of visual servoing schemes. Furthermore, they also meet the requirements of other classes of application, such as augmented reality.


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