Road surface 3D reconstruction based on dense subpixel disparity map estimation

Rui Fan*, Xiao Ai, Naim Dahnoun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)
399 Downloads (Pure)


Various 3D reconstruction methods have enabled civil engineers to detect damage on a road surface. To achieve the millimeter accuracy required for road condition assessment, a disparity map with subpixel resolution needs to be used. However, none of the existing stereo matching algorithms are specially suitable for the reconstruction of the road surface. Hence in this paper, we propose a novel dense subpixel disparity estimation algorithm with high computational efficiency and robustness. This is achieved by first transforming the perspective view of the target frame into the reference view, which not only increases the accuracy of the block matching for the road surface but also improves the processing speed. The disparities are then estimated iteratively using our previously published algorithm, where the search range is propagated from three estimated neighboring disparities. Since the search range is obtained from the previous iteration, errors may occur when the propagated search range is not sufficient. Therefore, a correlation maxima verification is performed to rectify this issue, and the subpixel resolution is achieved by conducting a parabola interpolation enhancement. Furthermore, a novel disparity global refinement approach developed from the Markov random fields and fast bilateral stereo is introduced to further improve the accuracy of the estimated disparity map, where disparities are updated iteratively by minimizing the energy function that is related to their interpolated correlation polynomials. The algorithm is implemented in C language with a near real-time performance. The experimental results illustrate that the absolute error of the reconstruction varies from 0.1 to 3 mm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3025-3035
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Image Processing
Issue number6
Early online date22 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

Structured keywords

  • Photonics and Quantum


  • 3D reconstruction
  • fast bilateral stereo
  • Markov random fields
  • parabola interpolation
  • road condition assessment
  • subpixel disparity estimation


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