Abstract

This paper addresses the problem of horizon detection, a fundamental process in numerous object detection algorithms, in a maritime environment. The maritime environment is characterized by the absence of fixed features, the presence of numerous linear features in dynamically changing objects and background and constantly varying illumination, rendering the typically simple problem of detecting the horizon a challenging one. We present a novel method called multi-scale consistence of weighted edge Radon transform, abbreviated as MuSCoWERT. It detects the long linear features consistent over multiple scales using multi-scale median filtering of the image followed by Radon transform on a weighted edge map and computing the histogram of the detected linear features. We show that MuSCoWERT has excellent performance, better than seven other contemporary methods, for 84 challenging maritime videos, containing over 33,000 frames, and captured using visible range and near-infrared range sensors mounted onboard, onshore, or on floating buoys. It has a median error of about 2 pixels (less than 0.2%) from the center of the actual horizon and a median angular error of less than 0.4 deg. We are also sharing a new challenging horizon detection dataset of 65 videos of visible, infrared cameras for onshore and onboard ship camera placement.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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