Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair

Graham, James H.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Farag, Aly

Committee Member

Welch, Karla

Committee Member

Richards, Christopher

Committee Member

Sahoo, Prasanna


Robot vision; Computer vision; Image processing--Digital techniques


The domain of this research is the use of computer vision methodologies in utilizing radiation for smart robotic applications for driving assistance. Radiation can be emitted by an object, reflected or transmitted. Understanding the nature and the properties of the radiation forming an image is essential in interpreting the information in that image which can then be used by a machine e.g. a smart vehicle to make a decision and perform an action. Throughout this work, different types of images are used to help a robotic vehicle make a decision and perform a certain action. This work presents three smart robotic applications; the first one deals with polarization images, the second one deals with thermal images and the third one deals with visible images. Each type of these images is formed by light (radiation) but in a way different from other types where the information embedded in an image depends on the way it was formed and how the light was generated. For polarization imaging, a direct method utilizing shading and polarization for unambiguous shape recovery without the need for nonlinear optimization routines is proposed. The proposed method utilizes simultaneously polarization and shading to find the surface normals, thus eliminating the reconstruction ambiguity. This can be useful to help a smart vehicle gain knowledge about the terrain surface geometry. Regarding thermal imaging, an automatic method for constructing an annotated thermal imaging pedestrian dataset is proposed. This is done by transferring detections from registered visible images simultaneously captured at day-time where pedestrian detection is well developed in visible images. Histogram of Oriented Gradients (HOG) features are extracted from the constructed dataset and then fed to a discriminatively trained deformable part based classifier that can be used to detect pedestrians at night. The resulting classifier was tested for night driving assistance and succeeded in detecting pedestrians even in the situations where visible imaging pedestrian detectors failed because of low light or glare of oncoming traffic. For visible images, a new feature based on HOG is proposed to be used for pedestrian detection. The proposed feature was augmented to two state of the art pedestrian detectors; the discriminatively trained Deformable Part based models (DPM) and the Integral Channel Features (ICF) using fast feature pyramids. The proposed approach is based on computing the image mixed partial derivatives to be used to redefine the gradients of some pixels and to reweigh the vote at all pixels with respect to the original HOG. The approach was tested on the PASCAL2007, INRIA and Caltech datasets and showed to have an outstanding performance.