Recovering Heading for Visually-Guided Navigation

Unknown author (1991-06-01)

We present a model for recovering the direction of heading of an observer who is moving relative to a scene that may contain self-moving objects. The model builds upon an algorithm proposed by Rieger and Lawton (1985), which is based on earlier work by Longuet-Higgens and Prazdny (1981). The algorithm uses velocity differences computed in regions of high depth variation to estimate the location of the focus of expansion, which indicates the observer's heading direction. We relate the behavior of the proposed model to psychophysical observations regarding the ability of human observers to judge their heading direction, and show how the model can cope with self-moving objects in the environment. We also discuss this model in the broader context of a navigational system that performs tasks requiring rapid sensing and response through the interaction of simple task-specific routines.