Pothole 3D Reconstruction With a Novel Imaging System and Structure From Motion Techniques

Adeel Ahmed, National University of Sciences Technology, Senthan Mathavan, Khurram Kamal, Mujib Rahman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Machine vision based evaluation systems are receiving increased attention, day by day, for automated quality inspection of roads. Industrial pavement scanners consist of laser scanners and are very expensive, hence inaccessible for everyone. The proposed work presents a simple and novel approach for 3D reconstruction of potholes for an automated inspection and road surface evaluation. The technique utilizes a Structure from Motion based 3D reconstruction algorithm, along with laser triangulation, to generate 3D point clouds of potholes. Alongside, a novel low-cost system, consisting of a single camera and a laser pointer, is also proposed. Keypoint matching techniques are employed, with the 5-point algorithm, on successive image frames to generate a point cloud. However, this point cloud is not metric yet, without scale information. The scale ambiguity is solved by making use of the laser pointer, and using the principle of triangulation. The laser spot is also detected in the same image sequence that is used for point-cloud building, cutting down the image capturing and processing overhead. The system has been benchmarked on artificial indentations with known dimensions, proving the robustness of the measurement scheme and hardware. Static and dynamic tests have been performed. The mean depth errors for measurement made by the imager statically and at dynamic speeds of 10 km/hr, 15 km/hr, and 20 km/hr are 5.3%, 7.9%, 14.4%, and 26.6%, whereas for perimeter the errors are 5.2%, 6.83 %, 11.8%, and 27.8%. The proposed, low-cost technique shows promising results in generating 3D point clouds for potholes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Early online date2 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Feb 2021

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  • Cameras
  • Image reconstruction
  • Measurement by laser beam
  • Pavement
  • Real-time systems
  • Roads
  • Surface reconstruction
  • Three-dimensional displays
  • imaging
  • keypoint
  • metrology.
  • potholes
  • structure from motion


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