Efficient Deep Learning Models for Privacy-preserving People Counting on Low-resolution Infrared Arrays

by   Chen Xie, et al.

Ultra-low-resolution Infrared (IR) array sensors offer a low-cost, energy-efficient, and privacy-preserving solution for people counting, with applications such as occupancy monitoring. Previous work has shown that Deep Learning (DL) can yield superior performance on this task. However, the literature was missing an extensive comparative analysis of various efficient DL architectures for IR array-based people counting, that considers not only their accuracy, but also the cost of deploying them on memory- and energy-constrained Internet of Things (IoT) edge nodes. In this work, we address this need by comparing 6 different DL architectures on a novel dataset composed of IR images collected from a commercial 8x8 array, which we made openly available. With a wide architectural exploration of each model type, we obtain a rich set of Pareto-optimal solutions, spanning cross-validated balanced accuracy scores in the 55.70-82.70 commercial Microcontroller (MCU) by STMicroelectronics, the STM32L4A6ZG, these models occupy 0.41-9.28kB of memory, and require 1.10-7.74ms per inference, while consuming 17.18-120.43 μJ of energy. Our models are significantly more accurate than a previous deterministic method (up to +39.9 up to 3.53x faster and more energy efficient. Further, our models' accuracy is comparable to state-of-the-art DL solutions on similar resolution sensors, despite a much lower complexity. All our models enable continuous, real-time inference on a MCU-based IoT node, with years of autonomous operation without battery recharging.


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