Improving Stereo Sub-Pixel Accuracy for Long Range Stereo

Stefan K. Gehrig, Uwe Franke


Dense stereo algorithms are able to estimate disparities at all pixels including untextured regions. Typically these disparities are evaluated at integer disparity steps. A subsequent sub-pixel interpolation often fails to propagate smoothness constraints on a sub-pixel level. The determination of sub-pixel accurate disparities is an active field of research, however, most sub-pixel estimation algorithms focus on textured image areas in order to show their precision.

We propose to increase the sub-pixel accuracy in low- textured regions in three possible ways: First, we present an analysis that shows the benefit of evaluating the disparity space at fractional disparities. Second, we introduce a new disparity smoothing algorithm that preserves depth discontinuities and enforces smoothness on a sub-pixel level. Third, we present a novel stereo constraint (gravitational constraint) that assumes sorted disparity values in vertical direction and guides global algorithms to reduce false matches, especially in low-textured regions. Our goal in this work is to obtain an accurate 3D reconstruction. Large- scale 3D reconstruction will benefit heavily from these sub- pixel refinements, especially with a multi-baseline extension.

Results based on semi-global matching , obtained with the above mentioned algorithmic extensions are shown for the Middlebury stereo ground truth data sets. The presented improvements, called ImproveSubPix, turn out to be one of the top-performing algorithms when evaluating the set on a sub-pixel level while being computationally efficient. Additional results are presented for urban scenes. The three improvements are independent of the underlying type of stereo algorithm and can also be applied to sparse stereo algorithms.

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