Infrared image enhancement is a crucial pre-processing technique in intelligent urban surveillance systems for Smart City applications. Existing grayscale mapping-based algorithms always suffer from over-enhancement of the background, noise amplification, and brightness distortion. To cope with these problems, an infrared image enhancement method based on adaptive histogram partition and brightness correction is proposed. First, the grayscale histogram is adaptively segmented into several sub-histograms by a locally weighted scatter plot smoothing algorithm and local minima examination. Then, the fore-and background sub-histograms are distinguished according to a proposed metric called grayscale density. The foreground sub-histograms are equalized using a local contrast weighted distribution for the purpose of enhancing the local details, while the background sub-histograms maintain the corresponding proportions of the whole dynamic range in order to avoid over-enhancement. Meanwhile, a visual correction factor considering the property of human vision is designed to reduce the effect of noise during the procedure of grayscale re-mapping. Lastly, particle swarm optimization is used to correct the mean brightness of the output by virtue of a reference image. Both qualitative and quantitative evaluations implemented on real infrared images demonstrate the superiority of our method when compared with other conventional methods.
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