With the world of professional sports shifting towards employing better sport analytics, the demand for vision-based performance analysis is growing increasingly in recent years. In addition, the nature of many sports does not allow the use of any kind of sensors or other wearable markers attached to players for monitoring their performances during competitions. This provides a potential application of systematic observations such as tracking information of the players to help coaches to develop their visual skills and perceptual awareness needed to make decisions about team strategy or training plans. My PhD project is part of a bigger ongoing project between sport scientists and computer scientists involving also industry partners and sports organisations. The overall idea is to investigate the contribution technology can make to the analysis of sports performance on the example of team sports such as rugby, football or hockey. A particular focus is on vision-based tracking, so that information about the location and dynamics of the players can be gained without any additional sensors on the players. To start with, prior approaches on visual tracking are extensively reviewed and analysed. In this thesis, methods to deal with the difficulties in visual tracking to handle the target appearance changes caused by intrinsic (e.g. pose variation) and extrinsic factors, such as occlusion, are proposed. This analysis highlights the importance of the proposed visual tracking algorithms, which reflect these challenges and suggest robust and accurate frameworks to estimate the target state in a complex tracking scenario such as a sports scene, thereby facilitating the tracking process. Next, a framework for continuously tracking multiple targets is proposed. Compared to single target tracking, multi-target tracking such as tracking the players on a sports field, poses additional difficulties, namely data association, which needs to be addressed. Here, the aim is to locate all targets of interest, inferring their trajectories and deciding which observation corresponds to which target trajectory is. In this thesis, an efficient framework is proposed to handle this particular problem, especially in sport scenes, where the players of the same team tend to look similar and exhibit complex interactions and unpredictable movements resulting in matching ambiguity between the players. The presented approach is also evaluated on different sports datasets and shows promising results. Finally, information from the proposed tracking system is utilised as the basic input for further higher level performance analysis such as tactics and team formations, which can help coaches to design a better training plan. Due to the continuous nature of many team sports (e.g. soccer, hockey),it is not straightforward to infer the high-level team behaviours, such as players’ interaction. The proposed framework relies on two distinct levels of performance analysis: low-level performance analysis, such as identifying players positions on the play field, as well as a high-level analysis, where the aim is to estimate the density of player locations or detecting their possible interaction group. The related experiments show the proposed approach can effectively explore this high-level information, which has many potential applications.
|Date of Award
|Roland Goecke (Supervisor), Elisa Martinez-Marroquin (Supervisor) & Michael Wagner (Supervisor)