Abstract

Amplitude-modulated continuous wave (AMCW) time-of-flight (ToF) range imaging cameras measure distance by illuminating the scene with amplitude-modulated light and measuring the phase difference between the transmitted and reflected modulation envelope. This method of optical range measurement suffers from errors caused by multiple propagation paths, motion, phase wrapping, and nonideal amplitude modulation. In this paper a ToF camera is modified to operate in modes analogous to continuous wave (CW) and stepped frequency continuous wave (SFCW) lidar. In CW operation the velocity of objects can be measured. CW measurement of velocity was linear with true velocity (R2=0.9969). Qualitative analysis of a complex scene confirms that range measured by SFCW is resilient to errors caused by multiple propagation paths, phase wrapping, and nonideal amplitude modulation which plague AMCW operation. In viewing a complicated scene through a translucent sheet, quantitative comparison of AMCW with SFCW demonstrated a reduction in the median error from 1.3m to 0.06m with interquartile range of error reduced from 4.0 m to 0.18 m.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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