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This paper presents an evolutionary approach able to process a digital image and detect tracks left by preceding vehicles on ice and snow in Antarctica. Biologically inspired by a colony of ants able to interact and cooperate to determine the shortest path to the food, this approach is based on autonomous agents moving along the image pixels and iteratively improving an initial coarse solution. The unfriendly Antarctic environment makes this image analysis problem extremely challenging, since light reflections, abruptly varying brightness conditions, and different terrain slopes must be considered as well. The ant-based approach is compared to a more traditional Hough-based solution and the results are discussed.
Date of Publication: Feb 2003