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An Algorithm for Power Line Detection and Warning Based on a Millimeter-Wave Radar Video

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4 Author(s)
Qirong Ma ; Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA ; Darren S. Goshi ; Yi-Chi Shih ; Ming-Ting Sun

Power-line-strike accident is a major safety threat for low-flying aircrafts such as helicopters, thus an automatic warning system to power lines is highly desirable. In this paper we propose an algorithm for detecting power lines from radar videos from an active millimeter-wave sensor. Hough Transform is employed to detect candidate lines. The major challenge is that the radar videos are very noisy due to ground return. The noise points could fall on the same line which results in signal peaks after Hough Transform similar to the actual cable lines. To differentiate the cable lines from the noise lines, we train a Support Vector Machine to perform the classification. We exploit the Bragg pattern, which is due to the diffraction of electromagnetic wave on the periodic surface of power lines. We propose a set of features to represent the Bragg pattern for the classifier. We also propose a slice-processing algorithm which supports parallel processing, and improves the detection of cables in a cluttered background. Lastly, an adaptive algorithm is proposed to integrate the detection results from individual frames into a reliable video detection decision, in which temporal correlation of the cable pattern across frames is used to make the detection more robust. Extensive experiments with real-world data validated the effectiveness of our cable detection algorithm.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Image Processing  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 12 )