Toward Verification and Validation of the Milani Image  Processing Pipeline in the Hardware-In-The-Loop TestbenchTinyv3rse

Verification and validation is an essential step for image processing and vision based navigation algorithms. Typically these algorithms are designed mainly with synthetic images, which implies a urgent need to study their behavior under realistic environmental conditions. To achieve this task, DART Lab has designed the hardware-in-the-loop testbench TinyV3RSE, which can be used both to support fundamental research and to increase the maturity of mission-specific algorithms. Among its projects, DART Lab is responsible for the mission analysis and the GNC subsystem of Milani, one of the two CubeSats of ESA’s Hera mission. A crucial component of its semi-autonomous vision-based GNC subsystem is the image processing, which, to this date, has been designed and tested only with synthetic images. In this work the weighted center of brightness algorithm, an essential part of Milani’s image processing, is tested using TinyV3RSE. In particular, the robustness of the algorithm to challenging geometrical conditions, different exposure times, and blur levels is investigated. The results allowed to prove the robustness of the algorithm and to gather insight into the effect of camera hardware on the image processing software: a preliminary but essential step towards the full validation and verification of Milani’s image processing

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