Clustered Object Detection in Aerial Images

ICCV 2019  ·  Fan Yang, Heng Fan, Peng Chu, Erik Blasch, Haibin Ling ·

Detecting objects in aerial images is challenging for at least two reasons: (1) target objects like pedestrians are very small in pixels, making them hardly distinguished from surrounding background; and (2) targets are in general sparsely and non-uniformly distributed, making the detection very inefficient. In this paper, we address both issues inspired by observing that these targets are often clustered. In particular, we propose a Clustered Detection (ClusDet) network that unifies object clustering and detection in an end-to-end framework. The key components in ClusDet include a cluster proposal sub-network (CPNet), a scale estimation sub-network (ScaleNet), and a dedicated detection network (DetecNet). Given an input image, CPNet produces object cluster regions and ScaleNet estimates object scales for these regions. Then, each scale-normalized cluster region is fed into DetecNet for object detection. ClusDet has several advantages over previous solutions: (1) it greatly reduces the number of chips for final object detection and hence achieves high running time efficiency, (2) the cluster-based scale estimation is more accurate than previously used single-object based ones, hence effectively improves the detection for small objects, and (3) the final DetecNet is dedicated for clustered regions and implicitly models the prior context information so as to boost detection accuracy. The proposed method is tested on three popular aerial image datasets including VisDrone, UAVDT and DOTA. In all experiments, ClusDet achieves promising performance in comparison with state-of-the-art detectors. Code will be available in \url{}.

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