M4Depth: A motion-based approach for monocular depth estimation on video sequences

20 May 2021  ·  Michaël Fonder, Damien Ernst, Marc Van Droogenbroeck ·

Getting the distance to objects is crucial for autonomous vehicles. In instances where depth sensors cannot be used, this distance has to be estimated from RGB cameras... As opposed to cars, the task of estimating depth from on-board mounted cameras is made complex on drones because of the lack of constrains on motion during flights. In this paper, we present a method to estimate the distance of objects seen by an on-board mounted camera by using its RGB video stream and drone motion information. Our method is built upon a pyramidal convolutional neural network architecture and uses time recurrence in pair with geometric constraints imposed by motion to produce pixel-wise depth maps. In our architecture, each level of the pyramid is designed to produce its own depth estimate based on past observations and information provided by the previous level in the pyramid. We introduce a spatial reprojection layer to maintain the spatio-temporal consistency of the data between the levels. We analyse the performance of our approach on Mid-Air, a public drone dataset featuring synthetic drone trajectories recorded in a wide variety of unstructured outdoor environments. Our experiments show that our network outperforms state-of-the-art depth estimation methods and that the use of motion information is the main contributing factor for this improvement. The code of our method is publicly available on GitHub; see https://github.com/michael-fonder/M4Depth read more

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Task Dataset Model Metric Name Metric Value Global Rank Result Benchmark
Monocular Depth Estimation Mid-Air Dataset M4Depth-d6 (VMD) Abs Rel 0.1425 # 1
SQ Rel 3.6798 # 5
RMSE 8.8641 # 1
RMSE log 0.24571 # 1

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