Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Birchfield, Stanley

Committee Member

Gowdy , John

Committee Member

Schalkoff , Robert

Committee Member

Sarasua , Wayne


A method is presented for segmenting and tracking vehicles on highways using a camera that is relatively low to the ground. At such low angles, 3D perspective effects cause significant appearance changes over time, as well as severe occlusions by vehicles in neighboring lanes. Traditional approaches to occlusion reasoning assume that the vehicles initially appear well-separated in the image, but in our sequences it is not uncommon for vehicles to enter the scene partially occluded and remain so throughout. By utilizing a 3D perspective mapping from the scene to the image, along with a plumb line projection, a subset of features is identified whose 3D coordinates can be accurately estimated. These features are then grouped to yield the number and locations of the vehicles, and standard feature tracking is used to maintain the locations of the vehicles over time. Additional features are then assigned to these groups and used to classify vehicles as cars or trucks. The technique uses a single grayscale camera beside the road, processes image frames incrementally, works in real time, and produces vehicle counts with over 90% accuracy on challenging sequences. Adverse weather conditions are handled by augmenting feature tracking with a boosted cascade vehicle detector (BCVD). To overcome the need of manual camera calibration, an algorithm is presented which uses BCVD to calibrate the camera automatically without relying on any scene-specific image features such as road lane markings.



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