This study proposes a novel method for image registration and fusion via commonly used visible light and infrared integrated cameras mounted on medium-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).The innovation of image registration lies in three aspects. First, it reveals how complex perspective transformation can be converted to simple scale transformation and translation transformation between two sensor images under long-distance and parallel imaging conditions. Second, with the introduction of metadata, a scale calculation algorithm is designed according to spatial geometry, and a coarse translation estimation algorithm is presented based on coordinate transformation. Third, the problem of non-strictly aligned edges in precise translation estimation is solved via edge–distance field transformation. A searching algorithm based on particle swarm optimization is introduced to improve efficiency. Additionally, a new image fusion algorithm is designed based on a pulse coupled neural network and nonsubsampled contourlet transform to meet the special requirements of preserving color information, adding infrared brightness information, improving spatial resolution, and highlighting target areas for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications. A medium-altitude UAV is employed to collect datasets. The result is promising, especially in applications that involve other medium-altitude or high-altitude UAVs with similar system structures.
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