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Deep Sea Robotic Imaging Simulator

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Document pages: 15 pages

Abstract: Nowadays underwater vision systems are being widely applied in oceanresearch. However, the largest portion of the ocean - the deep sea - stillremains mostly unexplored. Only relatively few image sets have been taken fromthe deep sea due to the physical limitations caused by technical challenges andenormous costs. Deep sea images are very different from the images taken inshallow waters and this area did not get much attention from the community. Theshortage of deep sea images and the corresponding ground truth data forevaluation and training is becoming a bottleneck for the development ofunderwater computer vision methods. Thus, this paper presents a physicalmodel-based image simulation solution, which uses an in-air texture and depthinformation as inputs, to generate underwater image sequences taken by robotsin deep ocean scenarios. Different from shallow water conditions, artificialillumination plays a vital role in deep sea image formation as it stronglyaffects the scene appearance. Our radiometric image formation model considersboth attenuation and scattering effects with co-moving spotlights in the dark.By detailed analysis and evaluation of the underwater image formation model, wepropose a 3D lookup table structure in combination with a novel renderingstrategy to improve simulation performance. This enables us to integrate aninteractive deep sea robotic vision simulation in the Unmanned UnderwaterVehicles simulator. To inspire further deep sea vision research by thecommunity, we will release the source code of our deep sea image converter tothe public.

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