Improving plane fitting accuracy with rigorous error models of structured light-based RGB-D sensors

Yaxin Li, Wenbin Li, Walid Darwish, Shengjun Tang, Yuling Hu, Wu Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Plane fitting is a fundamental operation for point cloud data processing. Most existing methods for point cloud plane fitting have been developed based on high-quality Lidar data giving equal weight to the point cloud data. In recent years, using low-quality RGB-Depth (RGB-D) sensors to generate 3D models has attracted much attention. However, with low-quality point cloud data, equal weight plane fitting methods are not optimal as the range errors of RGB-D sensors are distance-related. In this paper, we developed an accurate plane fitting method for a structured light (SL)-based RGB-D sensor. First, we derived an error model of a point cloud dataset from the SL-based RGB-D sensor through error propagation from the raw measurement to the point coordinates. A new cost function based on minimizing the radial distances with the derived rigorous error model was then proposed for the random sample consensus (RANSAC)-based plane fitting method. The experimental results demonstrated that our method is robust and practical for different operating ranges and different working conditions. In the experiments, for the operating ranges from 1.23 meters to 4.31 meters, the mean plane angle errors were about one degree, and the mean plane distance errors were less than six centimeters. When the dataset is of a large-depth-measurement scale, the proposed method can significantly improve the plane fitting accuracy, with a plane angle error of 0.5 degrees and a mean distance error of 4.7 cm, compared to 3.8 degrees and 16.8 cm, respectively, from the conventional un-weighted RANSAC method. The experimental results also demonstrate that the proposed method is applicable for different types of SL-based RGB-D sensor. The rigorous error model of the SL-based RGB-D sensor is essential for many applications such as in outlier detection and data authorization. Meanwhile, the precise plane fitting method developed in our research will benefit algorithms based on high-accuracy plane features such as depth calibration, 3D feature-based simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), and the generation of indoor building information models (BIMs).

Original languageEnglish
Article number320
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Plane fitting
  • Point cloud
  • RGB-D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this