Michael Isard and John MacCormick
Blob trackers have become increasingly powerful in recent years largely due to the adoption of statistical appearance models which allow effective background subtraction and robust tracking of deforming foreground objects. It has been standard, however, to treat background and foreground modelling as separate processes - background subtraction is followed by blob detection and tracking - which prevents a principled computation of image likelihoods. This paper presents two theoretical advances which address this limitation and lead to a robust multiple-person tracking system suitable for single-camera real-time surveillance applications.
The first innovation is a multi-blob likelihood function which assigns directly comparable likelihoods to hypotheses containing different numbers of objects. This likelihood function has a rigorous mathematical basis: it is adapted from the theory of Bayesian correlation, but uses the assumption of a static camera to create a more specific background model while retaining a unified approach to background and foreground modelling. Second we introduce a Bayesian filter for tracking multiple objects when the number of objects present is unknown and varies over time. We show how a particle filter can be used to performjoint inference on both the number of objects present and their con- figurations. Finally we demonstrate that our system runs comfortably in real time on a modest workstation when the number of blobs in the scene is small.
In Proc. Int. Conf. Computer Vision