CCL: Continual Contrastive Learning for LiDAR Place Recognition

by   Jiafeng Cui, et al.

Place recognition is an essential and challenging task in loop closing and global localization for robotics and autonomous driving applications. Benefiting from the recent advances in deep learning techniques, the performance of LiDAR place recognition (LPR) has been greatly improved. However, current deep learning-based methods suffer from two major problems: poor generalization ability and catastrophic forgetting. In this paper, we propose a continual contrastive learning method, named CCL, to tackle the catastrophic forgetting problem and generally improve the robustness of LPR approaches. Our CCL constructs a contrastive feature pool and utilizes contrastive loss to train more transferable representations of places. When transferred into new environments, our CCL continuously reviews the contrastive memory bank and applies a distribution-based knowledge distillation to maintain the retrieval ability of the past data while continually learning to recognize new places from the new data. We thoroughly evaluate our approach on Oxford, MulRan, and PNV datasets using three different LPR methods. The experimental results show that our CCL consistently improves the performance of different methods in different environments outperforming the state-of-the-art continual learning method. The implementation of our method has been released at


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