M.Sc. Alexander Hermans|
Phone: +49 241 80 20 772
Fax: +49 241 80 22731
Office hours: Try and drop by or send some mails for further details.
Most vision based systems for object tracking in urban environments focus on a limited number of important object categories such as cars or pedestrians, for which powerful detectors are available. However, practical driving scenarios contain many additional objects of interest, for which suitable detectors either do not yet exist or would be cumbersome to obtain. In this paper we propose a more general tracking approach which does not follow the often used tracking-by- detection principle. Instead, we investigate how far we can get by tracking unknown, generic objects in challenging street scenes. As such, we do not restrict ourselves to only tracking the most common categories, but are able to handle a large variety of static and moving objects. We evaluate our approach on the KITTI dataset and show competitive results for the annotated classes, even though we are not restricted to them.
We introduce the DROW detector, a deep learning based detector for 2D range data. Laser scanners are lighting invariant, provide accurate range data, and typically cover a large field of view, making them interesting sensors for robotics applications. So far, research on detection in laser range data has been dominated by handcrafted features and boosted classifiers, potentially losing performance due to suboptimal design choices. We propose a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) based detector for this task. We show how to effectively apply CNNs for detection in 2D range data, and propose a depth preprocessing step and voting scheme that significantly improve CNN performance. We demonstrate our approach on wheelchairs and walkers, obtaining state of the art detection results. Apart from the training data, none of our design choices limits the detector to these two classes, though. We provide a ROS node for our detector and release our dataset containing 464k laser scans, out of which 24k were annotated for training.
Thanks to the efforts of our community, autonomous robots are becoming capable of ever more complex and impressive feats. There is also an increasing demand for, perhaps even an expectation of, autonomous capabilities from end-users. However, much research into autonomous robots rarely makes it past the stage of a demonstration or experimental system in a controlled environment. If we don't confront the challenges presented by the complexity and dynamics of real end-user environments, we run the risk of our research becoming irrelevant or ignored by the industries who will ultimately drive its uptake. In the STRANDS project we are tackling this challenge head-on. We are creating novel autonomous systems, integrating state-of-the-art research in artificial intelligence and robotics into robust mobile service robots, and deploying these systems for long-term installations in security and care environments. To date, over four deployments, our robots have been operational for a combined duration of 2545 hours (or a little over 106 days), covering 116km while autonomously performing end-user defined tasks. In this article we present an overview of the motivation and approach of the STRANDS project, describe the technology we use to enable long, robust autonomous runs in challenging environments, and describe how our robots are able to use these long runs to improve their own performance through various forms of learning.
TL;DR: By doing the obvious thing of encoding an angle φ as (cos φ, sin φ), we can do cool things and simplify data labeling requirements.
While head pose estimation has been studied for some time, continuous head pose estimation is still an open problem. Most approaches either cannot deal with the periodicity of angular data or require very fine-grained regression labels. We introduce biternion nets, a CNN-based approach that can be trained on very coarse regression labels and still estimate fully continuous 360° head poses. We show state-of-the-art results on several publicly available datasets. Finally, we demonstrate how easy it is to record and annotate a new dataset with coarse orientation labels in order to obtain continuous head pose estimates using our biternion nets.
Dense semantic segmentation of 3D point clouds is a challenging task. Many approaches deal with 2D semantic segmentation and can obtain impressive results. With the availability of cheap RGB-D sensors the field of indoor semantic segmentation has seen a lot of progress. Still it remains unclear how to deal with 3D semantic segmentation in the best way. We propose a novel 2D-3D label transfer based on Bayesian updates and dense pairwise 3D Conditional Random Fields. This approach allows us to use 2D semantic segmentations to create a consistent 3D semantic reconstruction of indoor scenes. To this end, we also propose a fast 2D semantic segmentation approach based on Randomized Decision Forests. Furthermore, we show that it is not needed to obtain a semantic segmentation for every frame in a sequence in order to create accurate semantic 3D reconstructions. We evaluate our approach on both NYU Depth datasets and show that we can obtain a significant speed-up compared to other methods.