MONOCULAR-DEPTH ASSISTED SEMI-GLOBAL MATCHING
Reconstruction of dense photogrammetric point clouds is often based on depth estimation of rectified image pairs by means of pixel-wise matching. The main drawback lies in the high computational complexity compared to that of the relatively straightforward task of laser triangulation. Dense image matching needs oriented and rectified images and looks for point correspondences between them. The search for these correspondences is based on two assumptions: pixels and their local neighborhood show a similar radiometry and image scenes are mostly homogeneous, meaning that neighboring points in one image are most likely also neighbors in the second. These rules are violated, however, at depth changes in the scene. Optimization strategies tend to find the best depth estimation based on the resulting disparities in the two images. One new field in neural networks is the estimation of a depth image from a single input image through learning geometric relations in images. These networks are able to find homogeneous areas as well as depth changes, but result in a much lower geometric accuracy of the estimated depth compared to dense matching strategies. In this paper, a method is proposed extending the Semi-Global-Matching algorithm by utilizing a-priori knowledge from a monocular depth estimating neural network to improve the point correspondence search by predicting the disparity range from the single-image depth estimation (SIDE). The method also saves resources through path optimization and parallelization. The algorithm is benchmarked on Middlebury data and results are presented both quantitatively and qualitatively.