We propose a late-to-early recurrent feature fusion scheme for 3D object detection using temporal LiDAR point clouds. Our main motivation is fusing object-aware latent embeddings into the early stages of a 3D object detector. This feature fusion strategy enables the model to better capture the shapes and poses for challenging objects, compared with learning from raw points directly. Our method conducts late-to-early feature fusion in a recurrent manner. This is achieved by enforcing window-based attention blocks upon temporally calibrated and aligned sparse pillar tokens. Leveraging bird's eye view foreground pillar segmentation, we reduce the number of sparse history features that our model needs to fuse into its current frame by 10$\times$. We also propose a stochastic-length FrameDrop training technique, which generalizes the model to variable frame lengths at inference for improved performance without retraining. We evaluate our method on the widely adopted Waymo Open Dataset and demonstrate improvement on 3D object detection against the baseline model, especially for the challenging category of large objects.
Widely adopted motion forecasting datasets substitute the observed sensory inputs with higher-level abstractions such as 3D boxes and polylines. These sparse shapes are inferred through annotating the original scenes with perception systems' predictions. Such intermediate representations tie the quality of the motion forecasting models to the performance of computer vision models. Moreover, the human-designed explicit interfaces between perception and motion forecasting typically pass only a subset of the semantic information present in the original sensory input. To study the effect of these modular approaches, design new paradigms that mitigate these limitations, and accelerate the development of end-to-end motion forecasting models, we augment the Waymo Open Motion Dataset (WOMD) with large-scale, high-quality, diverse LiDAR data for the motion forecasting task. The new augmented dataset WOMD-LiDAR consists of over 100,000 scenes that each spans 20 seconds, consisting of well-synchronized and calibrated high quality LiDAR point clouds captured across a range of urban and suburban geographies (https://waymo.com/open/data/motion/). Compared to Waymo Open Dataset (WOD), WOMD-LiDAR dataset contains 100x more scenes. Furthermore, we integrate the LiDAR data into the motion forecasting model training and provide a strong baseline. Experiments show that the LiDAR data brings improvement in the motion forecasting task. We hope that WOMD-LiDAR will provide new opportunities for boosting end-to-end motion forecasting models.
Data augmentations are important in training high-performance 3D object detectors for point clouds. Despite recent efforts on designing new data augmentations, perhaps surprisingly, most state-of-the-art 3D detectors only use a few simple data augmentations. In particular, different from 2D image data augmentations, 3D data augmentations need to account for different representations of input data and require being customized for different models, which introduces significant overhead. In this paper, we resort to a search-based approach, and propose LidarAugment, a practical and effective data augmentation strategy for 3D object detection. Unlike previous approaches where all augmentation policies are tuned in an exponentially large search space, we propose to factorize and align the search space of each data augmentation, which cuts down the 20+ hyperparameters to 2, and significantly reduces the search complexity. We show LidarAugment can be customized for different model architectures with different input representations by a simple 2D grid search, and consistently improve both convolution-based UPillars/StarNet/RSN and transformer-based SWFormer. Furthermore, LidarAugment mitigates overfitting and allows us to scale up 3D detectors to much larger capacity. In particular, by combining with latest 3D detectors, our LidarAugment achieves a new state-of-the-art 74.8 mAPH L2 on Waymo Open Dataset.
Data augmentation is an important technique to improve data efficiency and save labeling cost for 3D detection in point clouds. Yet, existing augmentation policies have so far been designed to only utilize labeled data, which limits the data diversity. In this paper, we recognize that pseudo labeling and data augmentation are complementary, thus propose to leverage unlabeled data for data augmentation to enrich the training data. In particular, we design three novel pseudo-label based data augmentation policies (PseudoAugments) to fuse both labeled and pseudo-labeled scenes, including frames (PseudoFrame), objecta (PseudoBBox), and background (PseudoBackground). PseudoAugments outperforms pseudo labeling by mitigating pseudo labeling errors and generating diverse fused training scenes. We demonstrate PseudoAugments generalize across point-based and voxel-based architectures, different model capacity and both KITTI and Waymo Open Dataset. To alleviate the cost of hyperparameter tuning and iterative pseudo labeling, we develop a population-based data augmentation framework for 3D detection, named AutoPseudoAugment. Unlike previous works that perform pseudo-labeling offline, our framework performs PseudoAugments and hyperparameter tuning in one shot to reduce computational cost. Experimental results on the large-scale Waymo Open Dataset show our method outperforms state-of-the-art auto data augmentation method (PPBA) and self-training method (pseudo labeling). In particular, AutoPseudoAugment is about 3X and 2X data efficient on vehicle and pedestrian tasks compared to prior arts. Notably, AutoPseudoAugment nearly matches the full dataset training results, with just 10% of the labeled run segments on the vehicle detection task.
3D object detection in point clouds is a core component for modern robotics and autonomous driving systems. A key challenge in 3D object detection comes from the inherent sparse nature of point occupancy within the 3D scene. In this paper, we propose Sparse Window Transformer (SWFormer ), a scalable and accurate model for 3D object detection, which can take full advantage of the sparsity of point clouds. Built upon the idea of window-based Transformers, SWFormer converts 3D points into sparse voxels and windows, and then processes these variable-length sparse windows efficiently using a bucketing scheme. In addition to self-attention within each spatial window, our SWFormer also captures cross-window correlation with multi-scale feature fusion and window shifting operations. To further address the unique challenge of detecting 3D objects accurately from sparse features, we propose a new voxel diffusion technique. Experimental results on the Waymo Open Dataset show our SWFormer achieves state-of-the-art 73.36 L2 mAPH on vehicle and pedestrian for 3D object detection on the official test set, outperforming all previous single-stage and two-stage models, while being much more efficient.
Developing neural models that accurately understand objects in 3D point clouds is essential for the success of robotics and autonomous driving. However, arguably due to the higher-dimensional nature of the data (as compared to images), existing neural architectures exhibit a large variety in their designs, including but not limited to the views considered, the format of the neural features, and the neural operations used. Lack of a unified framework and interpretation makes it hard to put these designs in perspective, as well as systematically explore new ones. In this paper, we begin by proposing a unified framework of such, with the key idea being factorizing the neural networks into a series of view transforms and neural layers. We demonstrate that this modular framework can reproduce a variety of existing works while allowing a fair comparison of backbone designs. Then, we show how this framework can easily materialize into a concrete neural architecture search (NAS) space, allowing a principled NAS-for-3D exploration. In performing evolutionary NAS on the 3D object detection task on the Waymo Open Dataset, not only do we outperform the state-of-the-art models, but also report the interesting finding that NAS tends to discover the same macro-level architecture concept for both the vehicle and pedestrian classes.
Cross-entropy loss and focal loss are the most common choices when training deep neural networks for classification problems. Generally speaking, however, a good loss function can take on much more flexible forms, and should be tailored for different tasks and datasets. Motivated by how functions can be approximated via Taylor expansion, we propose a simple framework, named PolyLoss, to view and design loss functions as a linear combination of polynomial functions. Our PolyLoss allows the importance of different polynomial bases to be easily adjusted depending on the targeting tasks and datasets, while naturally subsuming the aforementioned cross-entropy loss and focal loss as special cases. Extensive experimental results show that the optimal choice within the PolyLoss is indeed dependent on the task and dataset. Simply by introducing one extra hyperparameter and adding one line of code, our Poly-1 formulation outperforms the cross-entropy loss and focal loss on 2D image classification, instance segmentation, object detection, and 3D object detection tasks, sometimes by a large margin.
* International Conference on Learning Representations. 2021
It is commonly believed that high internal resolution combined with expensive operations (e.g. atrous convolutions) are necessary for accurate semantic segmentation, resulting in slow speed and large memory usage. In this paper, we question this belief and demonstrate that neither high internal resolution nor atrous convolutions are necessary. Our intuition is that although segmentation is a dense per-pixel prediction task, the semantics of each pixel often depend on both nearby neighbors and far-away context; therefore, a more powerful multi-scale feature fusion network plays a critical role. Following this intuition, we revisit the conventional multi-scale feature space (typically capped at P5) and extend it to a much richer space, up to P9, where the smallest features are only 1/512 of the input size and thus have very large receptive fields. To process such a rich feature space, we leverage the recent BiFPN to fuse the multi-scale features. Based on these insights, we develop a simplified segmentation model, named ESeg, which has neither high internal resolution nor expensive atrous convolutions. Perhaps surprisingly, our simple method can achieve better accuracy with faster speed than prior art across multiple datasets. In real-time settings, ESeg-Lite-S achieves 76.0% mIoU on CityScapes  at 189 FPS, outperforming FasterSeg  (73.1% mIoU at 170 FPS). Our ESeg-Lite-L runs at 79 FPS and achieves 80.1% mIoU, largely closing the gap between real-time and high-performance segmentation models.
Lidars and cameras are critical sensors that provide complementary information for 3D detection in autonomous driving. While prevalent multi-modal methods simply decorate raw lidar point clouds with camera features and feed them directly to existing 3D detection models, our study shows that fusing camera features with deep lidar features instead of raw points, can lead to better performance. However, as those features are often augmented and aggregated, a key challenge in fusion is how to effectively align the transformed features from two modalities. In this paper, we propose two novel techniques: InverseAug that inverses geometric-related augmentations, e.g., rotation, to enable accurate geometric alignment between lidar points and image pixels, and LearnableAlign that leverages cross-attention to dynamically capture the correlations between image and lidar features during fusion. Based on InverseAug and LearnableAlign, we develop a family of generic multi-modal 3D detection models named DeepFusion, which is more accurate than previous methods. For example, DeepFusion improves PointPillars, CenterPoint, and 3D-MAN baselines on Pedestrian detection for 6.7, 8.9, and 6.2 LEVEL_2 APH, respectively. Notably, our models achieve state-of-the-art performance on Waymo Open Dataset, and show strong model robustness against input corruptions and out-of-distribution data. Code will be publicly available at https://github.com/tensorflow/lingvo/tree/master/lingvo/.
We propose Occupancy Flow Fields, a new representation for motion forecasting of multiple agents, an important task in autonomous driving. Our representation is a spatio-temporal grid with each grid cell containing both the probability of the cell being occupied by any agent, and a two-dimensional flow vector representing the direction and magnitude of the motion in that cell. Our method successfully mitigates shortcomings of the two most commonly-used representations for motion forecasting: trajectory sets and occupancy grids. Although occupancy grids efficiently represent the probabilistic location of many agents jointly, they do not capture agent motion and lose the agent identities. To this end, we propose a deep learning architecture that generates Occupancy Flow Fields with the help of a new flow trace loss that establishes consistency between the occupancy and flow predictions. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach using three metrics on occupancy prediction, motion estimation, and agent ID recovery. In addition, we introduce the problem of predicting speculative agents, which are currently-occluded agents that may appear in the future through dis-occlusion or by entering the field of view. We report experimental results on a large in-house autonomous driving dataset and the public INTERACTION dataset, and show that our model outperforms state-of-the-art models.