Focal Sparse Convolutional Networks for 3D Object Detection

Non-uniformed 3D sparse data, e.g., point clouds or voxels in different spatial positions, make contribution to the task of 3D object detection in different ways. Existing basic components in sparse convolutional networks (Sparse CNNs) process all sparse data, regardless of regular or submanifold sparse convolution. In this paper, we introduce two new modules to enhance the capability of Sparse CNNs, both are based on making feature sparsity learnable with position-wise importance prediction. They are focal sparse convolution (Focals Conv) and its multi-modal variant of focal sparse convolution with fusion, or Focals Conv-F for short. The new modules can readily substitute their plain counterparts in existing Sparse CNNs and be jointly trained in an end-to-end fashion. For the first time, we show that spatially learnable sparsity in sparse convolution is essential for sophisticated 3D object detection. Extensive experiments on the KITTI, nuScenes and Waymo benchmarks validate the effectiveness of our approach. Without bells and whistles, our results outperform all existing single-model entries on the nuScenes test benchmark at the paper submission time. Code and models are at

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