Accurate layout estimation is crucial for planning and navigation in robotics applications, such as self-driving. In this paper, we introduce the Stereo Bird's Eye ViewNetwork (SBEVNet), a novel supervised end-to-end framework for estimation of bird's eye view layout from a pair of stereo images. Although our network reuses some of the building blocks from the state-of-the-art deep learning networks for disparity estimation, we show that explicit depth estimation is neither sufficient nor necessary. Instead, the learning of a good internal bird's eye view feature representation is effective for layout estimation. Specifically, we first generate a disparity feature volume using the features of the stereo images and then project it to the bird's eye view coordinates. This gives us coarse-grained information about the scene structure. We also apply inverse perspective mapping (IPM) to map the input images and their features to the bird's eye view. This gives us fine-grained texture information. Concatenating IPM features with the projected feature volume creates a rich bird's eye view representation which is useful for spatial reasoning. We use this representation to estimate the BEV semantic map. Additionally, we show that using the IPM features as a supervisory signal for stereo features can give an improvement in performance. We demonstrate our approach on three datasets: the KITTI dataset, a synthetically generated dataset from the CARLA simulator and a dataset collected in a forest environment. For all of these datasets, we establish state-of-the-art performance compared to baseline techniques.
Jeff Schneider (Advisor)
N. Dinesh Reddy
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