Engineers atNeptec Technologies (Kanata, Ontario, Canada) have developed a scanner and an associated software suite that enables users to collect just the right amount of 3-D data that is needed in their surveillance or autonomous navigation applications.
The company's OPAL 2.0 laser scanners incorporate LiDAR technology which was originally developed for helicopters landing in brownout conditions in the desert. They have been packaged for conditions typically found in the mining, oil and gas, and construction industries.
Over the course of many projects for NASA and other clients in the space market, Neptec developed a collection of 3-D data algorithms and real-time software for automatic change detection, 3-D data alignment and object recognition and tracking.
That software, which it calls 3DRi (3D Real-time intelligence), has now been incorporated into a software development toolkit that runs under Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit) and Ubuntu Linux 11.10 (32 or 64 bit).
When used in conjunction with the scanner, the 3DRi software suite can detect changes in a scene in real-time as well as perform object recognition and tracking. That makes it possible to collect sparse 3-D data in real-time from the laser scanners, look for interesting changes, and then dynamically increase the data density that is acquired to inspect an item of interest.
The image above shows how the system has been deployed to tracking a truck in the loading area of a open pit mine.
Neptec Technologies was founded in 2011 to commercialize space-technologies developed by Neptec Design Group, an award-winning space flight technology company and NASA prime contractor.
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-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor,Vision Systems Design