SPG: Unsupervised Domain Adaptation for 3D Object Detection via Semantic Point Generation

In autonomous driving, a LiDAR-based object detector should perform reliably at different geographic locations and under various weather conditions. While recent 3D detection research focuses on improving performance within a single domain, our study reveals that the performance of modern detectors can drop drastically cross-domain. In this paper, we investigate unsupervised domain adaptation (UDA) for LiDAR-based 3D object detection. On the Waymo Domain Adaptation dataset, we identify the deteriorating point cloud quality as the root cause of the performance drop. To address this issue, we present Semantic Point Generation (SPG), a general approach to enhance the reliability of LiDAR detectors against domain shifts. Specifically, SPG generates semantic points at the predicted foreground regions and faithfully recovers missing parts of the foreground objects, which are caused by phenomena such as occlusions, low reflectance or weather interference. By merging the semantic points with the original points, we obtain an augmented point cloud, which can be directly consumed by modern LiDAR-based detectors. To validate the wide applicability of SPG, we experiment with two representative detectors, PointPillars and PV-RCNN. On the UDA task, SPG significantly improves both detectors across all object categories of interest and at all difficulty levels. SPG can also benefit object detection in the original domain. On the Waymo Open Dataset and KITTI, SPG improves 3D detection results of these two methods across all categories. Combined with PV-RCNN, SPG achieves state-of-the-art 3D detection results on KITTI.

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Task Dataset Model Metric Name Metric Value Global Rank Result Benchmark
3D Object Detection KITTI Cars Easy SPG AP 90.5% # 5
3D Object Detection KITTI Cars Moderate SPG AP 82.13 % # 5


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