Google Research

Improving 3D Object Detection through Progressive Population Based Augmentation



Data augmentation has been widely adopted for object detection in 3-D point clouds. All efforts have focused on manually designing specific data augmentation methods for individual architectures, however no work has attempted to automate the design of data augmentation in 3-D detection problems -- as is common in 2-D camera-based computer vision. In this work, we present a first attempt to automate the design of data augmentation policies for 3-D object detection. We describe an algorithm termed Progressive Population Based Augmentation (PPBA). PPBA learns to optimize augmentation strategies by narrowing down the search space, and adopting the best parameters discovered in previous iterations. On the KITTI test set, PPBA improves the StarNet by substantial margins on the moderate difficulty category of cars, pedestrians, and cyclists, outperforming all current state-of-the-art single-stage detection models. Additional experiments on the Waymo Open Dataset, a 20x larger dataset compared to KITTI, indicate that PPBA continues to effectively improve 3D object detection. The magnitude of the improvements may be comparable to advances in 3-D perception architectures, yet data augmentation incurs no cost at inference time. In subsequent experiments, we find that PPBA may be up to 10x more data efficient on baseline 3D detection models without augmentation, highlighting that 3D detection models may achieve competitive accuracy with far fewer labeled examples.

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