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In the field of autonomously driving vehicles the environment perception containing dynamic objects like other road users is essential. Especially, detecting other vehicles in the road traffic using sensor data is of utmost importance. As the sensor data and the applied system model for the objects of interest are noise corrupted, a filter algorithm must be used to track moving objects. Using LIDAR sensors one object gives rise to more than one measurement per time step and is therefore called extended object. This allows to jointly estimate the objects, position, as well as its orientation, extension and shape. Estimating an arbitrary shaped object comes with a higher computational effort than estimating the shape of an object that can be approximated using a basic geometrical shape like an ellipse or a rectangle. In the case of a vehicle, assuming a rectangular shape is an accurate assumption.
A recently developed approach models the contour of a vehicle as periodic B-spline function. This representation is an easy to use tool, as the contour can be specified by some basis points in Cartesian coordinates. Also rotating, scaling and moving the contour is easy to handle using a spline contour. This contour model can be used to develop a measurement model for extended objects, that can be integrated into a tracking filter. Another approach modeling the shape of a vehicle is the so-called bounding box that represents the shape as rectangle.
In this thesis the basics of single, multi and extended object tracking, as well as the basics of B-spline functions are addressed. Afterwards, the spline measurement model is established in detail and integrated into an extended Kalman filter to track a single extended object. An implementation of the resulting algorithm is compared with the rectangular shape estimator. The implementation of the rectangular shape estimator is provided. The comparison is done using long-term considerations with Monte Carlo simulations and by analyzing the results of a single run. Therefore, both algorithms are applied to the same measurements. The measurements are generated using an artificial LIDAR sensor in a simulation environment.
In a real-world tracking scenario detecting several extended objects and measurements that do not originate from a real object, named clutter measurements, is possible. Also, the sudden appearance and disappearance of an object is possible. A filter framework investigated in recent years that can handle tracking multiple objects in a cluttered environment is a random finite set based approach. The idea of random finite sets and its use in a tracking filter is recapped in this thesis. Afterwards, the spline measurement model is included in a multi extended object tracking framework. An implementation of the resulting filter is investigated in a long-term consideration using Monte Carlo simulations and by analyzing the results of a single run. The multi extended object filter is also applied to artificial LIDAR measurements generated in a simulation environment.
The results of comparing the spline based and rectangular based extended object trackers show a more stable performance of the spline extended object tracker. Also, some problems that have to be addressed in future works are discussed. The investigation of the resulting multi extended object tracker shows a successful integration of the spline measurement model in a multi extended object tracker. Also, with these results some problems remain, that have to be solved in future works.

This paper presents a new likelihood-based partitioning method of the measurement set for the extended object probability hypothesis density (PHD) filter framework. Recent work has mostly relied on heuristic partitioning methods that cluster the measurement data based on a distance measure between the single measurements. This can lead to poor filter performance if the tracked extended objects are closely spaced. The proposed method called Stochastic Partitioning (StP) is based on sampling methods and was inspired by a former work of Granström et. al. In this work, the StP method is applied to a Gaussian inverse Wishart (GIW) PHD filter and compared to a second filter implementation that uses the heuristic Distance Partitioning (DP) method. The performance is evaluated in Monte Carlo simulations in a scenario where two objects approach each other. It is shown that the sampling based StP method leads to an improved filter performance compared to DP.

With the high resolution of modern sensors such as multilayer LiDARs, estimating the 3D shape in an extended object tracking procedure is possible. In recent years, 3D shapes have been estimated in spherical coordinates using Gaussian processes, spherical double Fourier series or spherical harmonics. However, observations have shown that in many scenarios only a few measurements are obtained from top or bottom surfaces, leading to error-prone estimates in spherical coordinates. Therefore, in this paper we propose to estimate the shape in cylindrical coordinates instead, applying harmonic functions. Specifically, we derive an expansion for 3D shapes in cylindrical coordinates by solving a boundary value problem for the Laplace equation. This shape representation is then integrated in a plain greedy association model and compared to shape estimation procedures in spherical coordinates. Since the shape representation is only integrated in a basic estimator, the results are preliminary and a detailed discussion for future work is presented at the end of the paper.

In this paper, a novel measurement model based on spherical double Fourier series (DFS) for estimating the 3D shape of a target concurrently with its kinematic state is introduced. Here, the shape is represented as a star-convex radial function, decomposed as spherical DFS. In comparison to ordinary DFS, spherical DFS do not suffer from ambiguities at the poles. Details will be given in the paper. The shape representation is integrated into a Bayesian state estimator framework via a measurement equation. As range sensors only generate measurements from the target side facing the sensor, the shape representation is modified to enable application of shape symmetries during the estimation process. The model is analyzed in simulations and compared to a shape estimation procedure using spherical harmonics. Finally, shape estimation using spherical and ordinary DFS is compared to analyze the effect of the pole problem in extended object tracking (EOT) scenarios.

In this paper, approximating the shape of a sailing boat using elliptic cones is investigated. Measurements are assumed to be gathered from the target's surface recorded by 3D scanning devices such as multilayer LiDAR sensors. Therefore, different models for estimating the sailing boat's extent are presented and evaluated in simulated and real-world scenarios. In particular, the measurement source association problem is addressed in the models. Simulated investigations are conducted with a static and a moving elliptic cone. The real-world scenario was recorded with a Velodyne Alpha Prime (VLP-128) mounted on a ferry of Lake Constance. Final results of this paper constitute the extent estimation of a single sailing boat using LiDAR data applying various measurement models.

Modeling a suitable birth density is a challenge when using Bernoulli filters such as the Labeled Multi-Bernoulli (LMB) filter. The birth density of newborn targets is unknown in most applications, but must be given as a prior to the filter. Usually the birth density stays unchanged or is designed based on the measurements from previous time steps.
In this paper, we assume that the true initial state of new objects is normally distributed. The expected value and covariance of the underlying density are unknown parameters. Using the estimated multi-object state of the LMB and the Rauch-Tung-Striebel (RTS) recursion, these parameters are recursively estimated and adapted after a target is detected.
The main contribution of this paper is an algorithm to estimate the parameters of the birth density and its integration into the LMB framework. Monte Carlo simulations are used to evaluate the detection driven adaptive birth density in two scenarios. The approach can also be applied to filters that are able to estimate trajectories.

Extended Target Tracking With a Lidar Sensor Using Random Matrices and a Virtual Measurement Model
(2022)

Random matrices are widely used to estimate the extent of an elliptically contoured object. Usually, it is assumed that the measurements follow a normal distribution, with its standard deviation being proportional to the object’s extent. However, the random matrix approach can filter the center of gravity and the covariance matrix of measurements independently of the measurement model. This work considers the whole chain from data acquisition to the linear Kalman Filter with extension estimation as a reference plant. The input is the (unknown) ground truth (position and extent). The output is the filtered center of gravity and the filtered covariance matrix of the measurement distribution. A virtual measurement model emulates the behavior of the reference plant. The input of the virtual measurement model is adapted using the proposed algorithm until the output parameters of the virtual measurement model match the result of the reference plant. After the adaptation, the input to the virtual measurement model is considered an estimation for position and extent. The main contribution of this paper is the reference model concept and an adaptation algorithm to optimize the input of the virtual measurement model.

Multi-object tracking filters require a birth density to detect new objects from measurement data. If the initial positions of new objects are unknown, it may be useful to choose an adaptive birth density. In this paper, a circular birth density is proposed, which is placed like a band around the surveillance area. This allows for 360° coverage. The birth density is described in polar coordinates and considers all point-symmetric quantities such as radius, radial velocity and tangential velocity of objects entering the surveillance area. Since it is assumed that these quantities are unknown and may vary between different targets, detected trajectories, and in particular their initial states, are used to estimate the distribution of initial states. The adapted birth density is approximated as a Gaussian mixture, so that it can be used for filters operating on Cartesian coordinates.

This paper presents the integration of a spline based extension model into a probability hypothesis density (PHD) filter for extended targets. Using this filter the position and extension of each object as well as the number of present objects can jointly be estimated. Therefore, the spline extension model and the PHD filter are addressed and merged in a Gaussian mixture (GM) implementation. Simulation results using artificial laser measurements are used to evaluate the performance of the presented filter. Finally, the results are illustrated and discussed.

In the past years, algorithms for 3D shape tracking using radial functions in spherical coordinates represented with different methods have been proposed. However, we have seen that mainly measurements from the lateral surface of the target can be expected in a lot of dynamic scenarios and only few measurements from the top and bottom parts leading to an error-prone shape estimate in the top and bottom regions when using a representation in spherical coordinates. We, therefore, propose to represent the shape of the target using a radial function in cylindrical coordinates, as these only represent regions of the lateral surface, and no information from the top or bottom parts is needed. In this paper, we use a Fourier-Chebyshev double series for 3D shape representation since a mixture of Fourier and Chebyshev series is a suitable basis for expanding a radial function in cylindrical coordinates. We investigate the method in a simulated and real-world maritime scenario with a CAD model of the target boat as a reference. We have found that shape representation in cylindrical coordinates has decisive advantages compared to a shape representation in spherical coordinates and should preferably be used if no prior knowledge of the measurement distribution on the surface of the target is available.