Color night vision system for ground vehicle navigation
Ali, Ehsan A.
Kozaitis, Samuel P.
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Operating in a degraded visual environment due to darkness can pose a threat to navigation safety. Systems have been developed to navigate in darkness that depend upon differences between objects such as temperature or reflectivity at various wavelengths. However, adding sensors for these systems increases the complexity by adding multiple components that may create problems with alignment and calibration. An approach is needed that is passive and simple for widespread acceptance. Our approach uses a type of augmented display to show fused images from visible and thermal sensors that are continuously updated. Because the raw fused image gave an unnatural color appearance, we used a color transfer process based on a look-up table to replace the false colors with a colormap derived from a daytime reference image obtained from a public database using the GPS coordinates of the vehicle. Although the database image was not perfectly registered, we were able to produce imagery acquired at night that appeared with daylight colors. Such an approach could improve the safety of nighttime navigation.