A Better Way to Track and Measure Dim Target

Recently, scientists from IOE proposed an improved particle filter tracking method, a better way to track and measure dim target under low noise-signal ratio (SNR) background. 

With the rapid development of optoelectronic technology, imaging detection system is widely used in navigation, astronomical target tracking and other fields. Dim target tracking and measuring technology is one of the hotspots of the imaging detection system. Meanwhile, the performance of the technology is closely related to the long-range detection capability of the imaging detection system.  

There are still some difficulties for this technology as the imaging detection system is applied to navigation and astronomical target tracking. When used for aeronautical navigation, due to the long distance between aircraft and imaging system, the target occupies only a few pixels on the imaging plane. In addition, the target radiation intensity received by the imaging system is very weak, and will be disturbed by all kinds of noise and clutter. When used for astronomical target tracking, there are also great challenges for dim target tracking and measuring. That’s because the SNR is low, the target energy is very weak and almost submerged by noise. Beyond that, the position, size and speed of the target are unknown and no feature (such as texture) can be utilized. 

A group from IOE’s photoelectric detection and signal processing laboratory has been working on this technology for years. Recently, they proposed an improved particle filter tracking method to track and measure dim target under low SNR background. They used a spatial position weighting method to obtain gray features, combined the neighborhood motion model with the gray probability map to obtain motion features of the dim target, set up a combined observation model of gray and motion features to calculate particle weights.  

Experiments show that compared with traditional method, this improved particle filter tracking method can enhance the capability of tracking and measuring dim target. This research entitled "Dim small target tracking based on improved particle filter" has been published in Opto-Electronic Engineering. 


Figure 1 tracking results of the proposed method, (a) the 1st frame, (b) the motion model graph, (c) the tracking and measuring graph. (Image by FAN xiangsuo) 


CAO Qiang

Institute of Optics and Electronics

Email: caoqiang@ioe.ac.cn

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