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What Matters in Unsupervised Optical Flow

Rico Jonschkowski
Austin Stone
Ariel Gordon
Kurt Konolige
ECCV (2020)


We systematically compare and analyze a set of key components in unsupervised optical flow to identify which photometric loss, occlusion handling, and smoothness regularization is most effective. Alongside this investigation we construct a number of novel improvements to unsupervised flow models, such as cost volume normalization, stopping the gradient at the occlusion mask, encouraging smoothness before upsampling the flow field, and continual self-supervision with image resizing. By combining the results of our investigation with our improved model components, we are able to present a new unsupervised flow technique that significantly outperforms the previous unsupervised state-of-the-art and performs on par with supervised FlowNet2 on the KITTI 2015 dataset, while also being significantly simpler than related approaches.