Compact multimodal multispectral sensor system for tactical reconnaissance
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Multispectral imaging is an attractive sensing modality for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in numerous military and civilian applications such as reconnaissance, target detection, and precision agriculture. Cameras based on patterned filters in the focal plane, such as conventional colour cameras, represent the most compact architecture for spectral imaging, but image reconstruction becomes challenging at higher band counts. We consider a camera configuration where six bandpass filters are arranged in a periodically repeating pattern in the focal plane. In addition, a large unfiltered region permits conventional monochromatic video imaging that can be used for situational awareness (SA), including estimating the camera motion and the 3D structure of the ground surface. By platform movement, the filters are scanned over the scene, capturing an irregular pattern of spectral samples of the ground surface. Through estimation of the camera trajectory and 3D scene structure, it is still possible to assemble a spectral image by fusing all measurements in software. The repeated sampling of bands enables spectral consistency testing, which can improve spectral integrity significantly. The result is a truly multimodal camera sensor system able to produce a range of image products. Here, we investigate its application in tactical reconnaissance by pushing towards on-board real-time spectral reconstruction based on visual odometry (VO) and full 3D reconstruction of the scene. The results are compared with offline processing based on estimates from visual simultaneous localisation and mapping (VSLAM) and indicate that the multimodal sensing concept has a clear potential for use in tactical reconnaissance scenarios.
Haavardsholm, Trym Vegard; Opsahl, Thomas Olsvik; Skauli, Torbjørn; Stahl, Annette. Compact multimodal multispectral sensor system for tactical reconnaissance. Proceedings of SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering 2022