Monocular Depth Cues in Computer Vision Applications

Monocular Depth Cues in Computer Vision Applications

Place: Large Lecture Room Affiliation: Computer Vision Centre and Dep. of Computer Science, UAB.  

Depth perception is a key aspect of human vision. It is a routine and essential visual task that the human do effortlessly in many daily activities. This has often been associated with stereo vision, but humans have an amazing ability to perceive depth relations even from a single image by using several monocular cues.


In the computer vision field, if image depth information were available, many tasks could be posed from a different perspective for the sake of higher performance and robustness. Nevertheless, given a single image, this possibility is usually discarded, since obtaining depth information has frequently been performed by three-dimensional reconstruction techniques, requiring two or more images of the same scene taken from different viewpoints. Recently, some proposals have shown the feasibility of computing depth information from single images. In essence, the idea is to take advantage of a priori knowledge of the acquisition conditions and the observed scene to estimate depth from monocular pictorial cues. These approaches try to precisely estimate the scene depth maps by employing computationally demanding techniques. However, to assist many computer vision algorithms, it is not really necessary computing a costly and detailed depth map of the image. Indeed, just a rough depth description can be very valuable in many problems.


In this thesis, we have demonstrated how coarse depth information can be integrated in different tasks following alternative strategies to obtain more precise and robust results. In that sense, we have proposed a simple, but reliable enough technique, whereby image scene regions are categorized into discrete depth ranges to  build a coarse depth map. Based on this representation, we have explored the potential usefulness of our method in three application domains from novel viewpoints: camera rotation parameters estimation, background estimation and pedestrian candidate generation. In the first case, we have computed camera rotation mounted in a moving vehicle applying two novels methods based on distant elements in the image, where the translation component of the image flow vectors is negligible. In background estimation, we have proposed a novel method to reconstruct the background by penalizing close regions in a cost function, which integrates color, motion, and depth terms. Finally, we have benefited of geometric and depth information available on single images for pedestrian candidate generation to significantly reduce the number of generated windows to be further processed by a pedestrian classifier. In all cases, results have shown that our approaches contribute to better performances.

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