Relation Matters: Foreground-aware Graph-based Relational Reasoning for Domain Adaptive Object Detection

Domain Adaptive Object Detection (DAOD) focuses on improving the generalization ability of object detectors via knowledge transfer. Recent advances in DAOD strive to change the emphasis of the adaptation process from global to local in virtue of fine-grained feature alignment methods. However, both the global and local alignment approaches fail to capture the topological relations among different foreground objects as the explicit dependencies and interactions between and within domains are neglected. In this case, only seeking one-vs-one alignment does not necessarily ensure the precise knowledge transfer. Moreover, conventional alignment-based approaches may be vulnerable to catastrophic overfitting regarding those less transferable regions (e.g. backgrounds) due to the accumulation of inaccurate localization results in the target domain. To remedy these issues, we first formulate DAOD as an open-set domain adaptation problem, in which the foregrounds and backgrounds are seen as the ``known classes'' and ``unknown class'' respectively. Accordingly, we propose a new and general framework for DAOD, named Foreground-aware Graph-based Relational Reasoning (FGRR), which incorporates graph structures into the detection pipeline to explicitly model the intra- and inter-domain foreground object relations on both pixel and semantic spaces, thereby endowing the DAOD model with the capability of relational reasoning beyond the popular alignment-based paradigm. The inter-domain visual and semantic correlations are hierarchically modeled via bipartite graph structures, and the intra-domain relations are encoded via graph attention mechanisms. Empirical results demonstrate that the proposed FGRR exceeds the state-of-the-art performance on four DAOD benchmarks.

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