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Sensors 2016, 16(11), 1952; doi:10.3390/s16111952

Towards Camera-LIDAR Fusion-Based Terrain Modelling for Planetary Surfaces: Review and Analysis

Surrey Space Centre, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gabriel Oliver-Codina, Nuno Gracias and Antonio M. López
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 9 November 2016 / Accepted: 10 November 2016 / Published: 20 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vision-Based Sensors in Field Robotics)

Abstract

In recent decades, terrain modelling and reconstruction techniques have increased research interest in precise short and long distance autonomous navigation, localisation and mapping within field robotics. One of the most challenging applications is in relation to autonomous planetary exploration using mobile robots. Rovers deployed to explore extraterrestrial surfaces are required to perceive and model the environment with little or no intervention from the ground station. Up to date, stereopsis represents the state-of-the art method and can achieve short-distance planetary surface modelling. However, future space missions will require scene reconstruction at greater distance, fidelity and feature complexity, potentially using other sensors like Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR). LIDAR has been extensively exploited for target detection, identification, and depth estimation in terrestrial robotics, but is still under development to become a viable technology for space robotics. This paper will first review current methods for scene reconstruction and terrain modelling using cameras in planetary robotics and LIDARs in terrestrial robotics; then we will propose camera-LIDAR fusion as a feasible technique to overcome the limitations of either of these individual sensors for planetary exploration. A comprehensive analysis will be presented to demonstrate the advantages of camera-LIDAR fusion in terms of range, fidelity, accuracy and computation. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3-D reconstruction; terrain modelling; LIDAR-camera fusion; planetary surface perception; hybrid vision systems 3-D reconstruction; terrain modelling; LIDAR-camera fusion; planetary surface perception; hybrid vision systems
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Shaukat, A.; Blacker, P.C.; Spiteri, C.; Gao, Y. Towards Camera-LIDAR Fusion-Based Terrain Modelling for Planetary Surfaces: Review and Analysis. Sensors 2016, 16, 1952.

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