With the goal of supporting close-range observation tasks of a spherical amphibious robot, such as ecological observations and intelligent surveillance, a moving target detection and tracking system was designed and implemented in this study. Given the restrictions presented by the amphibious environment and the small-sized spherical amphibious robot, an industrial camera and vision algorithms using adaptive appearance models were adopted to construct the proposed system. To handle the problem of light scattering and absorption in the underwater environment, the multi-scale retinex with color restoration algorithm was used for image enhancement. Given the environmental disturbances in practical amphibious scenarios, the Gaussian mixture model was used to detect moving targets entering the field of view of the robot. A fast compressive tracker with a Kalman prediction mechanism was used to track the specified target. Considering the limited load space and the unique mechanical structure of the robot, the proposed vision system was fabricated with a low power system-on-chip using an asymmetric and heterogeneous computing architecture. Experimental results confirmed the validity and high efficiency of the proposed system. The design presented in this paper is able to meet future demands of spherical amphibious robots in biological monitoring and multi-robot cooperation.
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