Toward Hierarchical Self-Supervised Monocular Absolute Depth Estimation for Autonomous Driving Applications

by   Feng Xue, et al.

In recent years, self-supervised methods for monocular depth estimation has rapidly become an significant branch of depth estimation task, especially for autonomous driving applications. Despite the high overall precision achieved, current methods still suffer from a) imprecise object-level depth inference and b) uncertain scale factor. The former problem would cause texture copy or provide inaccurate object boundary, and the latter would require current methods to have an additional sensor like LiDAR to provide depth groundtruth or stereo camera as additional training inputs, which makes them difficult to implement. In this work, we propose to address these two problems together by introducing DNet. Our contributions are twofold: a) a novel dense connected prediction (DCP) layer is proposed to provide better object-level depth estimation and b) specifically for autonomous driving scenarios, dense geometrical constrains (DGC) is introduced so that precise scale factor can be recovered without additional cost for autonomous vehicles. Extensive experiments have been conducted and, both DCP layer and DGC module are proved to be effectively solving the aforementioned problems respectively. Thanks to DCP layer, object boundary can now be better distinguished in the depth map and the depth is more continues on object level. It is also demonstrated that the performance of using DGC to perform scale recovery is comparable to that using ground-truth information, when the camera height is given and the ground point takes up more than 1.03 the paper is accepted.


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