The mining environment, being complex, irregular and time varying, presents a challenging prospect for stereo vision. The objective is to produce a stereo vision sensor suited to close-range scenes consisting primarily of rocks. This sensor should be able to produce a dense depth map within real-time constraints. Speed and robustness are of foremost importance for this investigation. A number of area based matching metrics have been implemented, including the SAD, SSD, NCC, and their zero-meaned versions. The NCC and the zero meaned SAD and SSD were found to produce the disparity maps with the highest proportion of valid matches. The plain SAD and SSD were the least computationally expensive, due to all their operations taking place in integer arithmetic, however, they were extremely sensitive to radiometric distortion. Non-parametric techniques for matching, in particular, the rank and the census transform, have also been investigated. The rank and census transforms were found to be robust with respect to radiometric distortion, as well as being able to produce disparity maps with a high proportion of valid matches. An additional advantage of both the rank and the census transform is their amenability to fast hardware implementation
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