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Robustness to changes in illumination conditions as well as viewing perspectives is an important requirement for many computer vision applications. One of the key factors in enhancing the robustness of dynamic scene analysis is that of accurate and reliable means for shadow detection. Shadow detection is critical for correct object detection in image sequences. Many algorithms have been proposed in the literature that deal with shadows. However, a comparative evaluation of the existing approaches is still lacking. In this paper, the full range of problems underlying the shadow detection is identified and discussed. We classify the proposed solutions to this problem using a taxonomy of four main classes, deterministic model and non-model based, and statistical parametric and nonparametric. Novel quantitative (detection and discrimination accuracy) and qualitative metrics (scene and object independence, flexibility to shadow situations and robustness to noise) are proposed to evaluate these classes of algorithms on a benchmark suite of indoor and outdoor video sequences.