Paper Accepted at Fourth IEEE International Conference on Robotic Computing (IRC2020)

Title: Quantifying the Impact of the Physical Setup of Stereo Camera Systems on Distance Estimations
Authors: Alexander J. Golkowski, Marcus Handte, Peter Roch, Pedro J. Marrón
Conference: 2020 Fourth IEEE International Conference on Robotic Computing (IRC)
Date: November 9-11, 2020
Publisher: IEEE

Abstract: The ability to perceive the environment accuratelyis a core requirement for autonomous navigation. In the past,researchers and practitioners have explored a broad spectrumof sensors that can be used to detect obstacles or to recognizenavigation targets. Due to their low hardware cost and highfidelity, stereo camera systems are often considered to be aparticularly versatile sensing technology. Consequently, there hasbeen a lot of work on integrating them into mobile robots.However, the existing literature focuses on presenting theconcepts and algorithms used to implement the desired robotfunctions on top of a given camera setup. As a result, the rationaleand impact of choosing this camera setup are usually neitherdiscussed nor described. Thus, when designing the stereo camerasystem for a mobile robot, there is not much general guidancebeyond isolated setups that worked for a specific robot.To close the gap, this paper studies the impact of the physicalsetup of a stereo camera system in indoor environments. To dothis, we present the results of an experimental analysis in whichwe use a given software setup to estimate the distance to anobject while systematically changing the camera setup. Thereby,we vary the three main parameters of the physical camerasetup, namely the angle and distance between the cameras aswell as the field of view. Based on the results, we derive severalguidelines on how to choose the parameters for an application.