Kitware to Develop Advanced Sparse Bundle Adjustment System for the Air Force

October 9, 2013

Kitware is pleased to announce new Phase I SBIR funding from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to develop innovative software for performing sparse bundle adjustment for full motion video (FMV) and wide-area motion imagery (WAMI).

Sparse bundle adjustment (SBA) is a technique for refining 3D scene geometry and the parameters of relative camera motion using images taken from different viewpoints. This technique has existed since the 1950s, but it is only in the past decade that the computational resources required to perform large-scale sparse bundle adjustment have become available and practical to use.

Existing open-source toolkits for SBA are slow and focus on large collections of unordered images. Significant optimizations can be made for SBA by exploiting properties found in aerial video, particularly temporal continuity. These optimizations are available at all stages of the camera calibration pipeline, from feature detection and matching to SBA itself.

With this new Phase I funding, Kitware will develop an SBA system targeted for aerial video that will produce state-of-the-art camera calibration accuracy in a fraction of the time compared to current unordered image collection software. A variation of the techniques developed under this project can also be used to construct a streaming SBA solution for live video.  Furthermore, relaxation of the specific constraint that bundle adjustment accuracy be optimal over all images could enable real-time, streaming video feeds onboard military vehicles for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems.

To achieve these goals, Kitware will leverage its world-renowned computer vision expertise, algorithms, and open-source libraries to perform feature detection, feature matching, and sparse optimization.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to improve a well-known yet under-utilized functionality and make a significant impact on video analyst workflows,” said Matthew Leotta, R&D Engineer at Kitware and Principal Investigator on this project. “An additional benefit is that our newly-developed system will build upon open-source software and our developed SBA toolkit will also be released to the public as open source.”

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This work is supported by the Air Force Research Laboratory under Contract No. FA8650-13-M-1694. This contract was approved on September 5, 2013 with FY 13 funds. The views, opinions and/or findings contained in this report are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official AFRL position, policy, or decision unless so designated by other documentation.

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