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Omnidirectional catadioptric cameras offer a large field of view and a complete information about the world surrounding the robot. In this paper, we describe a method to perform a fast and robust extraction of the omnidirectional free space using active contour models. The extracted free space could help the robot in real time navigation and environment exploration tasks. The presented approach will be compared to classical active contour methods usually applied to object segmentation. Some comparative results achieved in indoor and outdoor environments are shown to validate the approach.