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Analysis and Improvement of the Visual Object Detection Pipeline


Hosang,  Jan
Computer Vision and Multimodal Computing, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;
International Max Planck Research School, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;

Schiele,  Bernt
Computer Vision and Multimodal Computing, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;

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Hosang, J. (2017). Analysis and Improvement of the Visual Object Detection Pipeline. PhD Thesis, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken.

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Visual object detection has seen substantial improvements during the last years due to the possibilities enabled by deep learning. While research on image classification provides continuous progress on how to learn image representations and classifiers jointly, object detection research focuses on identifying how to properly use deep learning technology to effectively localise objects. In this thesis, we analyse and improve different aspects of the commonly used detection pipeline. We analyse ten years of research on pedestrian detection and find that improvement of feature representations was the driving factor. Motivated by this finding, we adapt an end-to-end learned detector architecture from general object detection to pedestrian detection. Our deep network outperforms all previous neural networks for pedestrian detection by a large margin, even without using additional training data. After substantial improvements on pedestrian detection in recent years, we investigate the gap between human performance and state-of-the-art pedestrian detectors. We find that pedestrian detectors still have a long way to go before they reach human performance, and we diagnose failure modes of several top performing detectors, giving direction to future research. As a side-effect we publish new, better localised annotations for the Caltech pedestrian benchmark. We analyse detection proposals as a preprocessing step for object detectors. We establish different metrics and compare a wide range of methods according to these metrics. By examining the relationship between localisation of proposals and final object detection performance, we define and experimentally verify a metric that can be used as a proxy for detector performance. Furthermore, we address a structural weakness of virtually all object detection pipelines: non-maximum suppression. We analyse why it is necessary and what the shortcomings of the most common approach are. To address these problems, we present work to overcome these shortcomings and to replace typical non-maximum suppression with a learnable alternative. The introduced paradigm paves the way to true end-to-end learning of object detectors without any post-processing. In summary, this thesis provides analyses of recent pedestrian detectors and detection proposals, improves pedestrian detection by employing deep neural networks, and presents a viable alternative to traditional non-maximum suppression.