Quality of the 3D Point Cloud of a Time-of-flight Camera Under Lunar Surface Illumination Conditions: Impact and Improvement Techniques
Time-of-Flight (ToF) cameras can deliver dense 3D point clouds by precisely calculating the round-trip time of infrared (IR) light reflecting off objects. A Japanese Lunar exploration rover employs a commercial off-the-shelf ToF camera as its main hazard-detection sensor. The lighting conditions on the Moon reduce the quality of the threedimensional (3D) point cloud. In this paper, we explore the effects of the Lunar surface lighting conditions on the range, validity, and accuracy of the data delivered by the ToF camera. To achieve repeatable results, an indoor Lunar lighting testbed was developed. Based on these experiments, we propose a filtering method to fuse the 3D point cloud frames obtained at different integration times.