Robust landmine detection from thermal image time series using Hough transform and rotationally invariant features

Kaya S., LELOĞLU U. M. , Ozyer G. T.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, vol.41, no.2, pp.725-739, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Automated detection of buried anti-personnel landmines using remote sensing techniques is very important for clearing minefields without putting lives in danger. Although thermal infrared imaging is promising, it is far from applicable to the real world in its current state-of-the-art. The most serious problem is that experiments are generally held using sandboxes or levelled and cleared soil, but real fields are, at least partially, covered with plants. In this study, we present an algorithm for landmine detection that is robust enough to detect beyond the clutter caused by partial plant cover. The first part is a hypothesis generator based on circular Hough Transform applied to images that are filtered to enhance circular structures. The second part tests the candidate landmine coordinates using rotationally invariant features, including modified Histogram of Oriented Gaussians (HOG), over multiple images taken at different times after Wiener filtering to maximize signal-to-clutter ratio. The performances of various features and classifiers are compared. The overall performance of the algorithm is demonstrated on a dataset of real-world landmine images contaminated by simulated plants. Satisfactory results are obtained up to 40% equivalent plant coverage where more than 65% of the pixels are fully or partially covered by plants.