Abstract – We propose a new approach for multi-sensor multi-target tracking by constructing statistical models on graphs with continuous-valued nodes for target states and discrete-valued nodes for data association hypotheses. These graphical representations lead to message-passing algorithms for the fusion of data across time, sensor, and target that are radically different than algorithms such as those found in state-of-the-art multiple hypothesis tracking (MHT) algorithms. Important differences include: (a) our message-passing algorithms explicitly compute different probabilities and estimates than MHT algorithms; (b) our algorithms propagate information from future data about past hypotheses via messages backward in time (rather than doing this via extending track hypothesis trees forward in time); and (c) the combinatorial complexity of the problem is manifested in a different way, one in which particle-like, approximated, messages are propagated forward and backward in time (rather than hypotheses being enumerated and truncated over time). A side beneﬁt of this structure is that it automatically provides smoothed target trajectories using future data. A major advantage is the potential for loworder polynomial (and linear in some cases) dependency on the length of the tracking interval N, in contrast with the exponential complexity in N for so-called N-scan algorithms. We provide experimental results that support this potential. As a result, we can afford to use longer tracking intervals, allowing us to incorporate out-of-sequence data seamlessly and to conduct track-stitching when future data provide evidence that disambiguates tracks well into the past.
International Conference on Information Fusion, Seattle, Washington, USA, July 2009