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In this paper, we present a robust vision-based system for vehicle tracking and classification devised for traffic flow surveillance. The system performs in real time, achieving good results, even in challenging situations, such as with moving casted shadows on sunny days, headlight reflections on the road, rainy days, and traffic jams, using only a single standard camera. We propose a robust adaptive multicue segmentation strategy that detects foreground pixels corresponding to moving and stopped vehicles, even with noisy images due to compression. First, the approach adaptively thresholds a combination of luminance and chromaticity disparity maps between the learned background and the current frame. It then adds extra features derived from gradient differences to improve the segmentation of dark vehicles with casted shadows and removes headlight reflections on the road. The segmentation is further used by a two-step tracking approach, which combines the simplicity of a linear 2-D Kalman filter and the complexity of a 3-D volume estimation using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods. Experimental results show that our method can count and classify vehicles in real time with a high level of performance under different environmental situations comparable with those of inductive loop detectors.