Autofocus method for scanning remote sensing cameras

Appl Opt. 2015 Jul 10;54(20):6351-9. doi: 10.1364/AO.54.006351.


Autofocus methods are conventionally based on capturing the same scene from a series of positions of the focal plane. As a result, it has been difficult to apply this technique to scanning remote sensing cameras where the scenes change continuously. In order to realize autofocus in scanning remote sensing cameras, a novel autofocus method is investigated in this paper. Instead of introducing additional mechanisms or optics, the overlapped pixels of the adjacent CCD sensors on the focal plane are employed. Two images, corresponding to the same scene on the ground, can be captured at different times. Further, one step of focusing is done during the time interval, so that the two images can be obtained at different focal plane positions. Subsequently, the direction of the next step of focusing is calculated based on the two images. The analysis shows that the method investigated operates without restriction of the time consumption of the algorithm and realizes a total projection for general focus measures and algorithms from digital still cameras to scanning remote sensing cameras. The experiment results show that the proposed method is applicable to the entire focus measure family, and the error ratio is, on average, no more than 0.2% and drops to 0% by reliability improvement, which is lower than that of prevalent approaches (12%). The proposed method is demonstrated to be effective and has potential in other scanning imaging applications.