Infrared and visible image registration is a very challenging task due to the large geometric changes and the significant contrast differences caused by the inconsistent capture conditions. To address this problem, this paper proposes a novel affine and contrast invariant descriptor called maximally stable phase congruency (MSPC), which integrates the affine invariant region extraction with the structural features of images organically. First, to achieve the contrast invariance and ensure the significance of features, we detect feature points using moment ranking analysis and extract structural features via merging phase congruency images in multiple orientations. Then, coarse neighborhoods centered on the feature points are obtained based on Log-Gabor filter responses over scales and orientations. Subsequently, the affine invariant regions of feature points are determined by using maximally stable extremal regions. Finally, structural descriptors are constructed from those regions and the registration can be implemented according to the correspondence of the descriptors. The proposed method has been tested on various infrared and visible pairs acquired by different platforms. Experimental results demonstrate that our method outperforms several state-of-the-art methods in terms of robustness and precision with different image data and also show its effectiveness in the application of trajectory tracking.
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