The problem of multiple object tracking seeks to jointly estimate the time-varying cardinality and trajectory of each object. There are numerous challenges that are encountered in tracking multiple objects including a time-varying number of measurements, under varying constraints, and environmental conditions. In this thesis, the proposed statistical methods integrate the use of physical-based models with Bayesian nonparametric methods to address the main challenges in a tracking problem. In particular, Bayesian nonparametric methods are exploited to efficiently and robustly infer object identity and learn time-dependent cardinality; together with Bayesian inference methods, they are also used to associate measurements to objects and estimate the trajectory of objects. These methods differ from the current methods to the core as the existing methods are mainly based on random finite set theory.
The first contribution proposes dependent nonparametric models such as the dependent Dirichlet process and the dependent Pitman-Yor process to capture the inherent time-dependency in the problem at hand. These processes are used as priors for object state distributions to learn dependent information between previous and current time steps. Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling methods exploit the learned information to sample from posterior distributions and update the estimated object parameters.
The second contribution proposes a novel, robust, and fast nonparametric approach based on a diffusion process over infinite random trees to infer information on object cardinality and trajectory. This method follows the hierarchy induced by objects entering and leaving a scene and the time-dependency between unknown object parameters. Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling methods integrate the prior distributions over the infinite random trees with time-dependent diffusion processes to update object states.
The third contribution develops the use of hierarchical models to form a prior for statistically dependent measurements in a single object tracking setup. Dependency among the sensor measurements provides extra information which is incorporated to achieve the optimal tracking performance. The hierarchical Dirichlet process as a prior provides the required flexibility to do inference. Bayesian tracker is integrated with the hierarchical Dirichlet process prior to accurately estimate the object trajectory.
The fourth contribution proposes an approach to model both the multiple dependent objects and multiple dependent measurements. This approach integrates the dependent Dirichlet process modeling over the dependent object with the hierarchical Dirichlet process modeling of the measurements to fully capture the dependency among both object and measurements. Bayesian nonparametric models can successfully associate each measurement to the corresponding object and exploit dependency among them to more accurately infer the trajectory of objects. Markov chain Monte Carlo methods amalgamate the dependent Dirichlet process with the hierarchical Dirichlet process to infer the object identity and object cardinality.
Simulations are exploited to demonstrate the improvement in multiple object tracking performance when compared to approaches that are developed based on random finite set theory.