Browse Publications Technical Papers 2022-01-0820

A Novel Method for Using RealityCapture in a Forensic Setting 2022-01-0820

Laser scanners are typically used in vehicle accident reconstruction and forensic applications to measure roadway and vehicle details. However, laser scanners used near congested roadways can digitize unwanted passing vehicles, which produces a scan with noisy and poor image quality point clouds. On the other hand, small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) images of reflective objects may result in a less accurate mesh, and capturing vertical surfaces such as telephone poles, traffic lights, and building faces is more difficult. Prior research has tested the accuracy of sUAS-captured images processed with commercially available software, such as AgiSoft or Pix4D, as well as in comparison to the accuracy of laser scan data. Research still has yet to be conducted on combining the laser scans and sUAS images for use in accident reconstruction and other forensic settings. The purpose of this study was to define a procedure using RealityCapture to combine the laser scanner’s ability to capture vertical details that sUASs less effectively observe with the color and roadway details of sUAS imagery not otherwise incorporated by laser scans. This study additionally examined the accuracy and aesthetics of using either laser scans or sUAS imagery alone compared with the combination of the two. It was found that processing sUAS images with RealityCapture in conjunction with laser scans maximized the best attributes offered by both technologies. The accuracy of the three-dimensional laser scan data is combined with the imagery from the terrestrial or aerial photographs. The use of global positioning system (GPS) data oriented and scaled the scene. This method provides a high-quality and accurate three-dimensional mesh that can be useful to accident reconstructionists and forensic specialists.


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