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Time-to-Contact Map by Joint Estimation of Up-to-Scale Inverse Depth and Global Motion using a Single Event Camera
Event cameras asynchronously report brightness changes with a temporal resolution in the order of microseconds, which makes them inherently suitable to address problems that involve rapid motion perception. In this paper, we address the problem of time-to-contact (TTC) estimation using a single event camera. This problem is typically addressed by estimating a single global TTC measure, which explicitly assumes that the surface/obstacle is planar and fronto-parallel. We relax this assumption by proposing an incremental event-based method to estimate the TTC that jointly estimates the (up-to scale) inverse depth and global motion using a single event camera. The proposed method is reliable and fast while asynchronously maintaining a TTC map (TTCM), which provides per-pixel TTC estimates. As a side product, the proposed method can also estimate per-event optical flow. We achieve state-of-the-art performances on TTC estimation in terms of accuracy and runtime per event while achieving competitive performance on optical flow estimation.