Multimodal Multispectral Imaging System for Small UAVs
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. 2020, 5 (2), 1039-1046. 10.1109/LRA.2020.2967301
Multispectral imaging is an attractive sensing modality for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in numerous applications. The most compact spectral camera architecture is based on spectral filters in the focal plane. Vehicle movement can be used to scan the scene using multiple bandpass filters arranged perpendicular to the flight direction. With known camera trajectory and scene structure, it is possible to assemble a spectral image in software. In this letter, we demonstrate the feasibility of a novel concept for low-cost wide area multispectral imaging with integrated spectral consistency testing. Six bandpass filters are arranged in a periodically repeating pattern. Since different bands are recorded at different times and in different viewing directions, there is a risk of obtaining spectral artifacts in the image. We exploit the repeated sampling of bands to enable spectral consistency testing, which leads to significantly improved spectral integrity. In addition, an unfiltered region permits conventional 2D video imaging that can be used for image-based navigation and 3D reconstruction. The proposed multimodal imaging system was tested on a UAV in a realistic experiment. The results demonstrate that spectral reconstruction and consistency testing can be performed by image processing alone, based on visual simultaneous localization and mapping (VSLAM).