The article “Retro-Reflective-Marker-Aided Target Pose Estimation in a Safety-Critical Environment”, by Laura Gonçalves Ribeiro, Olli J. Suominen, Ahmed Durmush, Sari Peltonen, Emilio Ruiz Morales and Atanas Gotchev, has been accepted for publication in Applied Sciences.
Abstract: Visual technologies have an indispensable role in safety-critical applications, where tasks must often be performed through teleoperation. Due to the lack of stereoscopic and motion parallax depth cues in conventional images, alignment tasks pose a significant challenge to remote operation. In this context, machine vision can provide mission-critical information to augment the operator’s perception. In this paper, we propose a retro-reflector marker-based teleoperation aid to be used in hostile remote handling environments. The system computes the remote manipulator’s position with respect to the target using a set of one or two low-resolution cameras attached to its wrist. We develop an end-to-end pipeline of calibration, marker detection, and pose estimation, and extensively study the performance of the overall system. The results demonstrate that we have successfully engineered a retro-reflective marker from materials that can withstand the extreme temperature and radiation levels of the environment. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the proposed maker-based approach provides robust and reliable estimates and significantly outperforms a previous stereo-matching-based approach, even with a single camera.