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Separation of overlapping image objects using morphological operations

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In application of robots in harvesting of agricultural and horticultural crops, a common problem is the occurrence of overlapping objects in a scene. Typically, a partially obscured object must be conclusively identified and extracted before it can be picked by the robot. Morphological operations can be used to smooth edges of a region, force shapes onto region edges, count regions and estimate the size of regions. Morphological operators typically use set theories of intersection and union. The case of separating overlapping flowers is presented in this paper. Thresholding, followed by sequential erosion and dilation were successfully applied to separate overlapping flowers in a series of images.


image analysis, morphological operations, robotic harvesting