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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2015, Article ID 947272, 11 pages
Research Article

Robust Vehicle Detection under Various Environments to Realize Road Traffic Flow Surveillance Using an Infrared Thermal Camera

1Faculty of Industrial and Welfare Engineering, Tokai University, 9-1-1 Toroku, Higashi-ku, Kumamoto 862-8652, Japan
2Freelance Image Processing Engineer, 228-602 Ueki, Ueki-machi, Kita-ku, Kumamoto 861-0132, Japan

Received 28 September 2014; Revised 29 December 2014; Accepted 30 December 2014

Academic Editor: Shiqian Wu

Copyright © 2015 Yoichiro Iwasaki et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To realize road traffic flow surveillance under various environments which contain poor visibility conditions, we have already proposed two vehicle detection methods using thermal images taken with an infrared thermal camera. The first method uses pattern recognition for the windshields and their surroundings to detect vehicles. However, the first method decreases the vehicle detection accuracy in winter season. To maintain high vehicle detection accuracy in all seasons, we developed the second method. The second method uses tires’ thermal energy reflection areas on a road as the detection targets. The second method did not achieve high detection accuracy for vehicles on left-hand and right-hand lanes except for two center-lanes. Therefore, we have developed a new method based on the second method to increase the vehicle detection accuracy. This paper proposes the new method and shows that the detection accuracy for vehicles on all lanes is 92.1%. Therefore, by combining the first method and the new method, high vehicle detection accuracies are maintained under various environments, and road traffic flow surveillance can be realized.