Publications

2022

  • X. Zuo, M. Zhang, M. Wang, Y. Chen, G. Huang, Y. Liu, and M. Li, “Visual-Based Kinematics and Pose Estimation for Skid-Steering Robots," IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    To build commercial robots, skid-steering mechanical design is of increased popularity due to its manufacturing simplicity and unique mechanism. However, these also cause significant challenges on software and algorithm design, especially for the pose estimation (i.e., determining the robot’s rotation and position) of skid-steering robots, since they change their orientation with an inevitable skid. To tackle this problem, we propose a probabilistic sliding-window estimator dedicated to skid-steering robots, using measurements from a monocular camera, the wheel encoders, and optionally an inertial measurement unit (IMU). Specifically, we explicitly model the kinematics of skid-steering robots by both track instantaneous centers of rotation (ICRs) and correction factors, which are capable of compensating for the complexity of track-to-terrain interaction, the imperfectness of mechanical design, terrain conditions and smoothness, etc. To prevent performance reduction in robots’ long-term missions, the time- and location- varying kinematic parameters are estimated online along with pose estimation states in a tightly-coupled manner. More importantly, we conduct indepth observability analysis for different sensors and design configurations in this paper, which provides us with theoretical tools in making the correct choice when building real commercial robots. In our experiments, we validate the proposed method by both simulation tests and real-world experiments, which demonstrate that our method outperforms competing methods by wide margins.

    @article{zuo2022vbk,
    title = {Visual-Based Kinematics and Pose Estimation for Skid-Steering Robots},
    author = {Xingxing Zuo and Mingming Zhang and Mengmeng Wang and Yiming Chen and Guoquan Huang and Yong Liu and Mingyang Li},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering},
    doi = {10.1109/TASE.2022.3214984},
    abstract = {To build commercial robots, skid-steering mechanical design is of increased popularity due to its manufacturing simplicity and unique mechanism. However, these also cause significant challenges on software and algorithm design, especially for the pose estimation (i.e., determining the robot’s rotation and position) of skid-steering robots, since they change their orientation with an inevitable skid. To tackle this problem, we propose a probabilistic sliding-window estimator dedicated to skid-steering robots, using measurements from a monocular camera, the wheel encoders, and optionally an inertial measurement unit (IMU). Specifically, we explicitly model the kinematics of skid-steering robots by both track instantaneous centers of rotation (ICRs) and correction factors, which are capable of compensating for the complexity of track-to-terrain interaction, the imperfectness of mechanical design, terrain conditions and smoothness, etc. To prevent performance reduction in robots’ long-term missions, the time- and location- varying kinematic parameters are estimated online along with pose estimation states in a tightly-coupled manner. More importantly, we conduct indepth observability analysis for different sensors and design configurations in this paper, which provides us with theoretical tools in making the correct choice when building real commercial robots. In our experiments, we validate the proposed method by both simulation tests and real-world experiments, which demonstrate that our method outperforms competing methods by wide margins.}
    }

  • T. Huang, H. Zou, J. Cui, J. Zhang, X. Yang, L. Li, and Y. Liu, “Adaptive Recurrent Forward Network for Dense Point Cloud Completion," IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI]

    Point cloud completion is an interesting and challenging task in 3D vision, which aims to recover complete shapes from sparse and incomplete point clouds. Existing completion networks often require a vast number of parameters and substantial computational costs to achieve a high performance level, which may limit their practical application. In this work, we propose a novel Adaptive efficient Recurrent Forward Network (ARFNet), which is composed of three parts: Recurrent Feature Extraction (RFE), Forward Dense Completion (FDC) and Raw Shape Protection (RSP). In an RFE, multiple short global features are extracted from incomplete point clouds, while a dense quantity of completed results are generated in a coarse-to-fine pipeline in the FDC. Finally, we propose the Adamerge module to preserve the details from the original models by merging the generated results with the original incomplete point clouds in the RSP. In addition, we introduce the Sampling Chamfer Distance to better capture the shapes of the models and the balanced expansion constraint to restrict the expansion distances from coarse to fine. According to the experiments on ShapeNet and KITTI, our network can achieve state-of-the-art completion performances on dense point clouds with fewer parameters, smaller model sizes, lower memory costs and a faster convergence.

    @article{huang2022arf,
    title = {Adaptive Recurrent Forward Network for Dense Point Cloud Completion},
    author = {Tianxin Huang and Hao Zou and Jinhao Cui and Jiangning Zhang and Xuemeng Yang and Lin Li and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Multimedia},
    doi = {10.1109/TMM.2022.3200851},
    abstract = {Point cloud completion is an interesting and challenging task in 3D vision, which aims to recover complete shapes from sparse and incomplete point clouds. Existing completion networks often require a vast number of parameters and substantial computational costs to achieve a high performance level, which may limit their practical application. In this work, we propose a novel Adaptive efficient Recurrent Forward Network (ARFNet), which is composed of three parts: Recurrent Feature Extraction (RFE), Forward Dense Completion (FDC) and Raw Shape Protection (RSP). In an RFE, multiple short global features are extracted from incomplete point clouds, while a dense quantity of completed results are generated in a coarse-to-fine pipeline in the FDC. Finally, we propose the Adamerge module to preserve the details from the original models by merging the generated results with the original incomplete point clouds in the RSP. In addition, we introduce the Sampling Chamfer Distance to better capture the shapes of the models and the balanced expansion constraint to restrict the expansion distances from coarse to fine. According to the experiments on ShapeNet and KITTI, our network can achieve state-of-the-art completion performances on dense point clouds with fewer parameters, smaller model sizes, lower memory costs and a faster convergence.}
    }

  • Q. Shen, X. Zhang, J. Lou, Y. Liu, and Y. Jiang, “Interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy multi-attribute second-order decision making based on partial connection numbers of set pair analysis," Soft Computing, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Multi-attribute decision making (MADM) with attribute values as interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy numbers (IVIFNs) is essentially a second-order decision making problem with uncertainty. To this end, the partial connection number (PCN) of set pair analysis is applied to MADM with IVIFNs. The PCN is an adjoin function of the connection number (CN), and its calculation process reflects the contradictory movement of the connection component in the CN at various micro-levels. It is the main mathematical tool of multi-level analysis method for the macro state and micro-trend. First, we convert IVIFNs into ternary connection numbers (TCNs); then, we calculate the first-order and second-order total PCNs for TCNs. According to the uncertainty analysis of the first-order total PCN, the possible ranking (first-order ranking) of the schemes in the uncertain environment is given, and the deterministic ordering (second-order ranking) of the schemes is given according to the value of the second-order total PCN to meet the needs of different decision making levels. The practical application shows that the method presented is novel, and the results are in line with the uncertainty decision making. Furthermore, the current status and development trend of schemes are taken into account to make decision making progress more reasonable and operable.

    @article{shen2022ivi,
    title = {Interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy multi-attribute second-order decision making based on partial connection numbers of set pair analysis},
    author = {Qing Shen and Xiongtao Zhang and Jungang Lou and Yong Liu and Yunliang Jiang},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {Soft Computing},
    doi = {10.1007/s00500-022-07314-2},
    abstract = {Multi-attribute decision making (MADM) with attribute values as interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy numbers (IVIFNs) is essentially a second-order decision making problem with uncertainty. To this end, the partial connection number (PCN) of set pair analysis is applied to MADM with IVIFNs. The PCN is an adjoin function of the connection number (CN), and its calculation process reflects the contradictory movement of the connection component in the CN at various micro-levels. It is the main mathematical tool of multi-level analysis method for the macro state and micro-trend. First, we convert IVIFNs into ternary connection numbers (TCNs); then, we calculate the first-order and second-order total PCNs for TCNs. According to the uncertainty analysis of the first-order total PCN, the possible ranking (first-order ranking) of the schemes in the uncertain environment is given, and the deterministic ordering (second-order ranking) of the schemes is given according to the value of the second-order total PCN to meet the needs of different decision making levels. The practical application shows that the method presented is novel, and the results are in line with the uncertainty decision making. Furthermore, the current status and development trend of schemes are taken into account to make decision making progress more reasonable and operable.}
    }

  • G. Zhai, Y. Zheng, Z. Xu, X. Kong, Y. Liu, B. Busam, Y. Ren, N. Navab, and Z. Zhang, “DA^2 Dataset: Toward Dexterity-Aware Dual-Arm Grasping," IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this paper, we introduce DA^2, the first large-scale dual-arm dexterity-aware dataset for the generation of optimal bimanual grasping pairs for arbitrary large objects. The dataset contains about 9M pairs of parallel-jaw grasps, generated from more than 6000 objects and each labeled with various grasp dexterity measures. In addition, we propose an end-to-end dual-arm grasp evaluation model trained on the rendered scenes from this dataset. We utilize the evaluation model as our baseline to show the value of this novel and nontrivial dataset by both online analysis and real robot experiments. All data and related code will be open-sourced at https://sites.google.com/view/da2dataset.

    @article{zhai2022ddt,
    title = {DA^2 Dataset: Toward Dexterity-Aware Dual-Arm Grasping},
    author = {Guangyao Zhai and Yu Zheng and Ziwei Xu and Xin Kong and Yong Liu and Benjamin Busam and Yi Ren and Nassir Navab and Zhengyou Zhang},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L)},
    doi = {10.1109/LRA.2022.3189959},
    abstract = {In this paper, we introduce DA^2, the first large-scale dual-arm dexterity-aware dataset for the generation of optimal bimanual grasping pairs for arbitrary large objects. The dataset contains about 9M pairs of parallel-jaw grasps, generated from more than 6000 objects and each labeled with various grasp dexterity measures. In addition, we propose an end-to-end dual-arm grasp evaluation model trained on the rendered scenes from this dataset. We utilize the evaluation model as our baseline to show the value of this novel and nontrivial dataset by both online analysis and real robot experiments. All data and related code will be open-sourced at https://sites.google.com/view/da2dataset.}
    }

  • C. Xu, J. Zhang, M. Wang, G. Tian, and Y. Liu, “Multi-level Spatial-temporal Feature Aggregation for Video Object Detection," IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Video object detection (VOD) focuses on detecting objects for each frame in a video, which is a challenging task due to appearance deterioration in certain video frames. Recent works usually distill crucial information from multiple support frames to improve the reference features, but they only perform at frame level or proposal level that cannot integrate spatial-temporal features sufficiently. To deal with this challenge, we treat VOD as a spatial-temporal hierarchical features interacting process and introduce a Multi-level Spatial-Temporal (MST) feature aggregation framework to fully exploit frame-level, proposal-level, and instance-level information in a unified framework. Specifically, MST first measures context similarity in pixel space to enhance all frame-level features rather than only update reference features. The proposal-level feature aggregation then models object relation to augment reference object proposals. Furthermore, to filter out irrelevant information from other classes and backgrounds, we introduce an instance ID constraint to boost instance-level features by leveraging support object proposal features that belong to the same object. Besides, we propose a Deformable Feature Alignment (DAlign) module before MST to achieve a more accurate pixel-level spatial alignment for better feature aggregation. Extensive experiments are conducted on ImageNet VID and UAVDT datasets that demonstrate the superiority of our method over state-of-the-art (SOTA) methods. Our method achieves 83.3% and 62.1% with ResNet-101 on two datasets, outperforming SOTA MEGA by 0.4% and 2.7%.

    @article{xu2022mls,
    title = {Multi-level Spatial-temporal Feature Aggregation for Video Object Detection},
    author = {Chao Xu and Jiangning Zhang and Mengmeng Wang and Guanzhong Tian and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology},
    doi = {10.1109/TCSVT.2022.3183646},
    abstract = {Video object detection (VOD) focuses on detecting objects for each frame in a video, which is a challenging task due to appearance deterioration in certain video frames. Recent works usually distill crucial information from multiple support frames to improve the reference features, but they only perform at frame level or proposal level that cannot integrate spatial-temporal features sufficiently. To deal with this challenge, we treat VOD as a spatial-temporal hierarchical features interacting process and introduce a Multi-level Spatial-Temporal (MST) feature aggregation framework to fully exploit frame-level, proposal-level, and instance-level information in a unified framework. Specifically, MST first measures context similarity in pixel space to enhance all frame-level features rather than only update reference features. The proposal-level feature aggregation then models object relation to augment reference object proposals. Furthermore, to filter out irrelevant information from other classes and backgrounds, we introduce an instance ID constraint to boost instance-level features by leveraging support object proposal features that belong to the same object. Besides, we propose a Deformable Feature Alignment (DAlign) module before MST to achieve a more accurate pixel-level spatial alignment for better feature aggregation. Extensive experiments are conducted on ImageNet VID and UAVDT datasets that demonstrate the superiority of our method over state-of-the-art (SOTA) methods. Our method achieves 83.3% and 62.1% with ResNet-101 on two datasets, outperforming SOTA MEGA by 0.4% and 2.7%.}
    }

  • T. Huang, Y. Liu, and Z. Pan, “Deep Residual Surrogate Model," Information Sciences, vol. 605, pp. 86-98, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Surrogate models are widely used to model the high computational cost problems such as industrial simulation or engineering optimization when the size of sampled data for modeling is greatly limited. They can significantly improve the efficiency of complex calculations by modeling original expensive problems with simpler computation-saving functions. However, a single surrogate model cannot always perform well for various problems. On this occasion, hybrid surrogate models are created to improve the final performances on different problems by combining advantages of multiple single models. Nevertheless, existing hybrid methods work by estimating weights for all alternative single models, which limits the efficiency when more single models are adopted. In this paper, we propose a novel hybrid surrogate model quite different from former methods, named the Deep Residual Surrogate model (DRS). DRS does not merge all alternative single surrogate models directly by weights, but by assembling selected ones in a multiple layers structure. We propose first derivate validation (FDV) to recurrently select the single surrogate model adopted in each layer from all candidates. Experimental results on multiple benchmark problems demonstrate that DRS has better performances than existing single and hybrid surrogate models in both prediction accuracy and stability with higher efficiency. (C) 2022 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    @article{huang2022drs,
    title = {Deep Residual Surrogate Model},
    author = {Tianxin Huang and Yong Liu and Zaisheng Pan},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {Information Sciences},
    volume = {605},
    pages = {86-98},
    doi = {10.1016/j.ins.2022.04.041},
    abstract = {Surrogate models are widely used to model the high computational cost problems such as industrial simulation or engineering optimization when the size of sampled data for modeling is greatly limited. They can significantly improve the efficiency of complex calculations by modeling original expensive problems with simpler computation-saving functions. However, a single surrogate model cannot always perform well for various problems. On this occasion, hybrid surrogate models are created to improve the final performances on different problems by combining advantages of multiple single models. Nevertheless, existing hybrid methods work by estimating weights for all alternative single models, which limits the efficiency when more single models are adopted. In this paper, we propose a novel hybrid surrogate model quite different from former methods, named the Deep Residual Surrogate model (DRS). DRS does not merge all alternative single surrogate models directly by weights, but by assembling selected ones in a multiple layers structure. We propose first derivate validation (FDV) to recurrently select the single surrogate model adopted in each layer from all candidates. Experimental results on multiple benchmark problems demonstrate that DRS has better performances than existing single and hybrid surrogate models in both prediction accuracy and stability with higher efficiency. (C) 2022 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.}
    }

  • X. Zhao, Y. Liu, Z. Wang, K. Wu, G. Dissanayake, and Y. Liu, “TG: Accurate and Efficient RGB-D Feature with Texture and Geometric Information," IEEE-ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Feature extraction and matching are the basis of many computer vision problems, such as image retrieval, object recognition, and visual odometry. In this article, we present a novel RGB-D feature with texture and geometric information (TG). It consists of a keypoint detector and a feature descriptor, which is accurate, efficient, and robust to scene variance. In the keypoint detection, we build a simplified Gaussian image pyramid to extract the texture feature. Meanwhile, the gradient of the point cloud is superimposed as the geometric feature. In the feature description, the texture information and spatial information are encoded in relative order to build a discriminative descriptor. We also construct a novel RGB-D benchmark dataset for RGB-D detector and descriptor evaluation under single variation. Comprehensive experiments are carried out to prove the superior performance of the proposed feature compared with state-of-the-art algorithms. The experimental results also demonstrate that our TG can achieve better performance especially on accuracy and the computational efficiency, making it more suitable for the real-time applications, e.g., visual odometry.

    @article{zhao2022tga,
    title = {TG: Accurate and Efficient RGB-D Feature with Texture and Geometric Information},
    author = {Xiangrui Zhao and Yu Liu and Zhengbo Wang and Kanzhi Wu and Gamini Dissanayake and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE-ASME Transactions on Mechatronics},
    doi = {10.1109/TMECH.2022.3175812},
    abstract = {Feature extraction and matching are the basis of many computer vision problems, such as image retrieval, object recognition, and visual odometry. In this article, we present a novel RGB-D feature with texture and geometric information (TG). It consists of a keypoint detector and a feature descriptor, which is accurate, efficient, and robust to scene variance. In the keypoint detection, we build a simplified Gaussian image pyramid to extract the texture feature. Meanwhile, the gradient of the point cloud is superimposed as the geometric feature. In the feature description, the texture information and spatial information are encoded in relative order to build a discriminative descriptor. We also construct a novel RGB-D benchmark dataset for RGB-D detector and descriptor evaluation under single variation. Comprehensive experiments are carried out to prove the superior performance of the proposed feature compared with state-of-the-art algorithms. The experimental results also demonstrate that our TG can achieve better performance especially on accuracy and the computational efficiency, making it more suitable for the real-time applications, e.g., visual odometry.}
    }

  • G. Xu, Y. Chen, J. Cao, D. Zhu, W. Liu, and Y. Liu, “Multivehicle Motion Planning with Posture Constraints in Real World," IEEE-ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    This article addresses the posture constraints problem in multivehicle motion planning for specific applications such as ground exploration tasks. Unlike most of the related work in motion planning, this article investigates more practical applications in the real world for nonholonomic unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). In this case, a strategy of diversion is designed to optimize the smoothness of motion. Considering the problem of the posture constraints, a postured collision avoidance algorithm is proposed for the motion planning of the multiple nonholonomic UGVs. Two simulation experiments were conducted to verify the effectiveness and analyze the quantitative performance of the proposed method. Then, the practicability of the proposed algorithm was verified with an experiment in a natural environment.

    @article{xu2022mmp,
    title = {Multivehicle Motion Planning with Posture Constraints in Real World},
    author = {Gang Xu and Yansong Chen and Junjie Cao and Deye Zhu and Weiwei Liu and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE-ASME Transactions on Mechatronics},
    doi = {10.1109/TMECH.2022.3173130},
    abstract = {This article addresses the posture constraints problem in multivehicle motion planning for specific applications such as ground exploration tasks. Unlike most of the related work in motion planning, this article investigates more practical applications in the real world for nonholonomic unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). In this case, a strategy of diversion is designed to optimize the smoothness of motion. Considering the problem of the posture constraints, a postured collision avoidance algorithm is proposed for the motion planning of the multiple nonholonomic UGVs. Two simulation experiments were conducted to verify the effectiveness and analyze the quantitative performance of the proposed method. Then, the practicability of the proposed algorithm was verified with an experiment in a natural environment.}
    }

  • J. Lv, X. Zuo, K. Hu, J. Xu, G. Huang, and Y. Liu, “Observability-Aware Intrinsic and Extrinsic Calibration of LiDAR-IMU System," IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Accurate and reliable sensor calibration is essential to fuse LiDAR and inertial measurements, which are usually available in robotic applications. In this article, we propose a novel LiDAR-IMU calibration method within the continuous-time batch-optimization framework, where the intrinsics of both sensors and the spatial-temporal extrinsics between sensors are calibrated without using calibration infrastructure, such as fiducial tags. Compared to discrete-time approaches, the continuous-time formulation has natural advantages for fusing high-rate measurements from LiDAR and IMU sensors. To improve efficiency and address degenerate motions, the following two observability-aware modules are leveraged: first, The information-theoretic data selection policy selects only the most informative segments for calibration during data collection, which significantly improves the calibration efficiency by processing only the selected informative segments. Second, the observability-aware state update mechanism in nonlinear least-squares optimization updates only the identifiable directions in the state space with truncated singular value decomposition, which enables accurate calibration results even under degenerate cases where informative data segments are not available. The proposed LiDAR-IMU calibration approach has been validated extensively in both simulated and real-world experiments with different robot platforms, demonstrating its high accuracy and repeatability in commonly-seen human-made environments.

    @article{lv2022oai,
    title = {Observability-Aware Intrinsic and Extrinsic Calibration of LiDAR-IMU System},
    author = {Jiajun Lv and Xingxing Zuo and Kewei Hu and Jinhong Xu and Guoquan Huang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Robotics},
    doi = {10.1109/TRO.2022.3174476},
    abstract = {Accurate and reliable sensor calibration is essential to fuse LiDAR and inertial measurements, which are usually available in robotic applications. In this article, we propose a novel LiDAR-IMU calibration method within the continuous-time batch-optimization framework, where the intrinsics of both sensors and the spatial-temporal extrinsics between sensors are calibrated without using calibration infrastructure, such as fiducial tags. Compared to discrete-time approaches, the continuous-time formulation has natural advantages for fusing high-rate measurements from LiDAR and IMU sensors. To improve efficiency and address degenerate motions, the following two observability-aware modules are leveraged: first, The information-theoretic data selection policy selects only the most informative segments for calibration during data collection, which significantly improves the calibration efficiency by processing only the selected informative segments. Second, the observability-aware state update mechanism in nonlinear least-squares optimization updates only the identifiable directions in the state space with truncated singular value decomposition, which enables accurate calibration results even under degenerate cases where informative data segments are not available. The proposed LiDAR-IMU calibration approach has been validated extensively in both simulated and real-world experiments with different robot platforms, demonstrating its high accuracy and repeatability in commonly-seen human-made environments.}
    }

  • M. Wang, J. Xing, J. Su, J. Chen, and Y. Liu, “Learning SpatioTemporal and Motion Features in a Unified 2D Network for Action Recognition," IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Recent methods for action recognition always apply 3D Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) to extract spatiotemporal features and introduce optical flows to present motion features. Although achieving state-of-the-art performance, they are expensive in both time and space. In this paper, we propose to represent both the two kinds of features in a unified 2D CNN without any 3D convolution or optical flows calculation. In particular, we first design a channel-wise spatiotemporal module to present the spatiotemporal features and a channel-wise motion module to encode feature-level motion features efficiently. Secondly, we combine these two modules and an identity mapping path into one united block that can easily replaces the original residual block in the ResNet architecture, forming a simple yet effective network termed STM network by introducing very limited extra computation cost and parameters. Thirdly, we propose a novel Twins Training framework for action recognition by incorporating a correlation loss to optimize the inter-class and intra-class correlation and a siamese structure to fully stretch the training data. We extensively validate the proposed STM on both temporal-related datasets (i.e., Something-Something v1 & v2) and scene-related datasets (i.e., Kinetics-400, UCF-101, and HMDB-51). It achieves favorable results against state-of-the-art methods in all the datasets.

    @article{wang2022lsm,
    title = {Learning SpatioTemporal and Motion Features in a Unified 2D Network for Action Recognition},
    author = {Mengmeng Wang and Jiazheng Xing and Jing Su and Jun Chen and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence},
    doi = {10.1109/TPAMI.2022.3173658},
    abstract = {Recent methods for action recognition always apply 3D Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) to extract spatiotemporal features and introduce optical flows to present motion features. Although achieving state-of-the-art performance, they are expensive in both time and space. In this paper, we propose to represent both the two kinds of features in a unified 2D CNN without any 3D convolution or optical flows calculation. In particular, we first design a channel-wise spatiotemporal module to present the spatiotemporal features and a channel-wise motion module to encode feature-level motion features efficiently. Secondly, we combine these two modules and an identity mapping path into one united block that can easily replaces the original residual block in the ResNet architecture, forming a simple yet effective network termed STM network by introducing very limited extra computation cost and parameters. Thirdly, we propose a novel Twins Training framework for action recognition by incorporating a correlation loss to optimize the inter-class and intra-class correlation and a siamese structure to fully stretch the training data. We extensively validate the proposed STM on both temporal-related datasets (i.e., Something-Something v1 \& v2) and scene-related datasets (i.e., Kinetics-400, UCF-101, and HMDB-51). It achieves favorable results against state-of-the-art methods in all the datasets.}
    }

  • L. Li, X. Kong, X. Zhao, T. Huang, and Y. Liu, “Semantic Scan Context: A Novel Semantic-based Loop-closure Method for LiDAR SLAM," Autonomous Robots, vol. 46, iss. 4, pp. 535-551, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    As one of the key technologies of SLAM, loop-closure detection can help eliminate the cumulative errors of the odometry. Many of the current LiDAR-based SLAM systems do not integrate a loop-closure detection module, so they will inevitably suffer from cumulative errors. This paper proposes a semantic-based place recognition method called Semantic Scan Context (SSC), which consists of the two-step global ICP and the semantic-based descriptor. Thanks to the use of high-level semantic features, our descriptor can effectively encode scene information. The proposed two-step global ICP can help eliminate the influence of rotation and translation on descriptor matching and provide a good initial value for geometric verification. Further, we built a complete loop-closure detection module based on SSC and combined it with the famous LOAM to form a full LiDAR SLAM system. Exhaustive experiments on the KITTI and KITTI-360 datasets show that our approach is competitive to the state-of-the-art methods, robust to the environment, and has good generalization ability. Our code is available at:https://github.com/lilin-hitcrt/SSC.

    @article{li2022ssc,
    title = {Semantic Scan Context: A Novel Semantic-based Loop-closure Method for LiDAR SLAM},
    author = {Lin Li and Xin Kong and Xiangrui Zhao and Tianxin Huang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {Autonomous Robots},
    volume = {46},
    number = {4},
    pages = {535-551},
    doi = {10.1007/s10514-022-10037-w},
    abstract = {As one of the key technologies of SLAM, loop-closure detection can help eliminate the cumulative errors of the odometry. Many of the current LiDAR-based SLAM systems do not integrate a loop-closure detection module, so they will inevitably suffer from cumulative errors. This paper proposes a semantic-based place recognition method called Semantic Scan Context (SSC), which consists of the two-step global ICP and the semantic-based descriptor. Thanks to the use of high-level semantic features, our descriptor can effectively encode scene information. The proposed two-step global ICP can help eliminate the influence of rotation and translation on descriptor matching and provide a good initial value for geometric verification. Further, we built a complete loop-closure detection module based on SSC and combined it with the famous LOAM to form a full LiDAR SLAM system. Exhaustive experiments on the KITTI and KITTI-360 datasets show that our approach is competitive to the state-of-the-art methods, robust to the environment, and has good generalization ability. Our code is available at:https://github.com/lilin-hitcrt/SSC.}
    }

  • L. Li, X. Kong, X. Zhao, T. Huang, W. li, F. Wen, H. Zhang, and Y. Liu, “RINet: Efficient 3D Lidar-Based Place Recognition Using Rotation Invariant Neural Network," IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), vol. 7, iss. 2, pp. 4321-4328, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    LiDAR-based place recognition (LPR) is one of the basic capabilities of robots, which can retrieve scenes from maps and identify previously visited locations based on 3D point clouds. As robots often pass the same place from different views, LPR methods are supposed to be robust to rotation, which is lacking in most current learning-based approaches. In this letter, we propose a rotation invariant neural network structure that can detect reverse loop closures even training data is all in the same direction. Specifically, we design a novel rotation equivariant global descriptor, which combines semantic and geometric features to improve description ability. Then a rotation invariant siamese neural network is implemented to predict the similarity of descriptor pairs. Our network is lightweight and can operate more than 8000 FPS on an i7-9700 CPU. Exhaustive evaluations and robustness tests on the KITTI, KITTI-360, and NCLT datasets show that our approach can work stably in various scenarios and achieve state-of-the-art performance.

    @article{li2022rinet,
    title = {RINet: Efficient 3D Lidar-Based Place Recognition Using Rotation Invariant Neural Network},
    author = {Lin Li and Xin Kong and Xiangrui Zhao and Tianxin Huang and Wanlong li and Feng Wen and Hongbo Zhang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L)},
    volume = {7},
    number = {2},
    pages = {4321-4328},
    doi = {10.1109/LRA.2022.3150499},
    abstract = {LiDAR-based place recognition (LPR) is one of the basic capabilities of robots, which can retrieve scenes from maps and identify previously visited locations based on 3D point clouds. As robots often pass the same place from different views, LPR methods are supposed to be robust to rotation, which is lacking in most current learning-based approaches. In this letter, we propose a rotation invariant neural network structure that can detect reverse loop closures even training data is all in the same direction. Specifically, we design a novel rotation equivariant global descriptor, which combines semantic and geometric features to improve description ability. Then a rotation invariant siamese neural network is implemented to predict the similarity of descriptor pairs. Our network is lightweight and can operate more than 8000 FPS on an i7-9700 CPU. Exhaustive evaluations and robustness tests on the KITTI, KITTI-360, and NCLT datasets show that our approach can work stably in various scenarios and achieve state-of-the-art performance.}
    }

  • C. Deng, M. Wang, L. Liu, Y. Liu, and Y. Jiang, “Extended feature pyramid network for small object detection," IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, vol. 24, pp. 1968-1979, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Small object detection remains an unsolved challenge because it is hard to extract information of small objects with only a few pixels. While scale-level corresponding detection in feature pyramid network alleviates this problem, we find feature coupling of various scales still impairs the performance of small objects. In this paper, we propose an extended feature pyramid network (EFPN) with an extra high-resolution pyramid level specialized for small object detection. Specifically, we design a novel module, named feature texture transfer (FTT), which is used to super-resolve features and extract credible regional details simultaneously. Moreover, we introduce a cross resolution distillation mechanism to transfer the ability of perceiving details across the scales of the network, where a foreground-background-balanced loss function is designed to alleviate area imbalance of foreground and background. In our experiments, the proposed EFPN is efficient on both computation and memory, and yields state-of-the-art results on small traffic-sign dataset Tsinghua-Tencent 100K and small category of general object detection dataset MS COCO.

    @article{deng2022efp,
    title = {Extended feature pyramid network for small object detection},
    author = {Chunfang Deng and Mengmeng Wang and Liang Liu and Yong Liu and Yunliang Jiang},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Multimedia},
    volume = {24},
    pages = {1968-1979},
    doi = {10.1109/TMM.2021.3074273},
    abstract = {Small object detection remains an unsolved challenge because it is hard to extract information of small objects with only a few pixels. While scale-level corresponding detection in feature pyramid network alleviates this problem, we find feature coupling of various scales still impairs the performance of small objects. In this paper, we propose an extended feature pyramid network (EFPN) with an extra high-resolution pyramid level specialized for small object detection. Specifically, we design a novel module, named feature texture transfer (FTT), which is used to super-resolve features and extract credible regional details simultaneously. Moreover, we introduce a cross resolution distillation mechanism to transfer the ability of perceiving details across the scales of the network, where a foreground-background-balanced loss function is designed to alleviate area imbalance of foreground and background. In our experiments, the proposed EFPN is efficient on both computation and memory, and yields state-of-the-art results on small traffic-sign dataset Tsinghua-Tencent 100K and small category of general object detection dataset MS COCO.}
    }

  • K. Zhang, Y. Liu, Y. Gu, X. Ruan, and J. Wang, “Multiple Timescale Feature Learning Strategy for Valve Stiction Detection Based on Convolutional Neural Network," IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, vol. 27, iss. 3, pp. 1478-1488, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    This article proposes a valve stiction detection strategy based on a convolutional neural network. Considering the commonly existing characteristics of industrial time-series signals, the strategy is developed to learn features on multiple timescales automatically. Unlike the traditional approaches using hand-crafted features, the proposed strategy can automatically learn representative features on the time-series data collected from industrial control loops. The strategy is composed of two complementary data conversion methods, a mixed feature learning stage and a fusion decision stage, and it has the following merits: 1) the interaction of different pairs of time series can be effectively captured; and 2) the whole process of feature learning is automatic, and no manual feature extraction is needed. The effectiveness of the proposed strategy is evaluated through the comprehensive data, including the International Stiction Data Base, and the real data collected from the real hardware experimental system and the industrial environment. Compared with four traditional methods and three deep-learning-based methods, the experimental results demonstrate that the proposed strategy outperforms the other methods. Besides performance evaluation, we give the implementation procedure of practical application of the proposed strategy and provide the detailed analysis from the perspective of the data conversion methods and the number of timescales.

    @article{zhang2022mtf,
    title = {Multiple Timescale Feature Learning Strategy for Valve Stiction Detection Based on Convolutional Neural Network},
    author = {Kexin Zhang and Yong Liu and Yong Gu and Xiaojun Ruan and Jiadong Wang},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics},
    volume = {27},
    number = {3},
    pages = {1478-1488},
    doi = {10.1109/TMECH.2021.3087503},
    abstract = {This article proposes a valve stiction detection strategy based on a convolutional neural network. Considering the commonly existing characteristics of industrial time-series signals, the strategy is developed to learn features on multiple timescales automatically. Unlike the traditional approaches using hand-crafted features, the proposed strategy can automatically learn representative features on the time-series data collected from industrial control loops. The strategy is composed of two complementary data conversion methods, a mixed feature learning stage and a fusion decision stage, and it has the following merits: 1) the interaction of different pairs of time series can be effectively captured; and 2) the whole process of feature learning is automatic, and no manual feature extraction is needed. The effectiveness of the proposed strategy is evaluated through the comprehensive data, including the International Stiction Data Base, and the real data collected from the real hardware experimental system and the industrial environment. Compared with four traditional methods and three deep-learning-based methods, the experimental results demonstrate that the proposed strategy outperforms the other methods. Besides performance evaluation, we give the implementation procedure of practical application of the proposed strategy and provide the detailed analysis from the perspective of the data conversion methods and the number of timescales.}
    }

  • J. Fan, S. Gao, Y. Liu, X. Ma, J. Yang, and C. Fan, “Semisupervised Game Player Categorization From Very Big Behavior Log Data," IEEE Transactions on Systems Man Cybernetics-Systems, vol. 52, iss. 6, pp. 3419-3430, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Extracting the specific category of the players, such as the malignant Bot, from the huge log data of the massive multiplayer online role playing games, denoted as MMORPGs, is an important basic task in game security and personal recommendation. In this article, we propose a parallel semisupervised framework to categorize specific game players with a few label-known target samples, which are denoted as bait players. Our approach first presents a feature representation model based on the players’ level granularity, which can acquire aligned feature representations in the lower dimensional space from the players’ original action sequences. Then, we propose a semisupervised clustering method, extended from the bisecting k -means model, to extract the specified players with the help of those bait players. Due to massive amounts of game log data, the computation complexity is an extreme challenge to implement our feature representation and semisupervised extraction approaches. We also propose a hierarchical parallelism framework, which allows the data to be computed horizontally and vertically simultaneously and enables varied parallel combinations for the steps of our semisupervised categorization approach. The comparable experiments on real-world MMORPGs’ log data, containing more than 465 Gbytes and million players, are carried out to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of our proposed approach compared with the state-of-the-art methods.

    @article{fan2022sgp,
    title = {Semisupervised Game Player Categorization From Very Big Behavior Log Data},
    author = {Jing Fan and Shaowen Gao and Yong Liu and Xinqiang Ma and Jiandang Yang and Changjie Fan},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Systems Man Cybernetics-Systems},
    volume = {52},
    number = {6},
    pages = {3419-3430},
    doi = {10.1109/TSMC.2021.3066545},
    abstract = {Extracting the specific category of the players, such as the malignant Bot, from the huge log data of the massive multiplayer online role playing games, denoted as MMORPGs, is an important basic task in game security and personal recommendation. In this article, we propose a parallel semisupervised framework to categorize specific game players with a few label-known target samples, which are denoted as bait players. Our approach first presents a feature representation model based on the players’ level granularity, which can acquire aligned feature representations in the lower dimensional space from the players’ original action sequences. Then, we propose a semisupervised clustering method, extended from the bisecting k -means model, to extract the specified players with the help of those bait players. Due to massive amounts of game log data, the computation complexity is an extreme challenge to implement our feature representation and semisupervised extraction approaches. We also propose a hierarchical parallelism framework, which allows the data to be computed horizontally and vertically simultaneously and enables varied parallel combinations for the steps of our semisupervised categorization approach. The comparable experiments on real-world MMORPGs’ log data, containing more than 465 Gbytes and million players, are carried out to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of our proposed approach compared with the state-of-the-art methods.}
    }

  • L. Wen, Y. Liu, and H. Li, “CL-MAPF: Multi-Agent Path Finding for Car-Like Robots with Kinematic and Spatiotemporal Constraints," Robotics and Autonomous Systems, vol. 150, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Multi-Agent Path Finding has been widely studied in the past few years due to its broad application in the field of robotics and AI. However, previous solvers rely on several simplifying assumptions. This limits their applicability in numerous real-world domains that adopt nonholonomic car-like agents rather than holonomic ones. In this paper, we give a mathematical formalization of the Multi-Agent Path Finding for Car-Like robots (CL-MAPF) problem. We propose a novel hierarchical search-based solver called Car-Like Conflict-Based Search to address this problem. It applies a body conflict tree to address collisions considering the shapes of the agents. We introduce a new algorithm called Spatiotemporal Hybrid-State A* as the single-agent planner to generate agents’ paths satisfying both kinematic and spatiotemporal constraints. We also present a sequential planning version of our method, sacrificing a small amount of solution quality to achieve a significant reduction in runtime. We compare our method with two baseline algorithms on a dedicated benchmark and validate it in real-world scenarios. The experiment results show that the planning success rate of both baseline algorithms is below 50% for all six scenarios, while our algorithm maintains that of over 98%. It also gives clear evidence that our algorithm scales well to 100 agents in 300 m x 300 m scenario and is able to produce solutions that can be directly applied to Ackermann-steering robots in the real world. The benchmark and source code are released in https://github.com/APRIL-ZJU/CL-CBS. The video of the experiments can be found on YouTube.(C) 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    @article{wen2022clm,
    title = {CL-MAPF: Multi-Agent Path Finding for Car-Like Robots with Kinematic and Spatiotemporal Constraints},
    author = {Licheng Wen and Yong Liu and Hongliang Li},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {Robotics and Autonomous Systems},
    volume = 150,
    doi = {10.1016/j.robot.2021.103997},
    abstract = {Multi-Agent Path Finding has been widely studied in the past few years due to its broad application in the field of robotics and AI. However, previous solvers rely on several simplifying assumptions. This limits their applicability in numerous real-world domains that adopt nonholonomic car-like agents rather than holonomic ones. In this paper, we give a mathematical formalization of the Multi-Agent Path Finding for Car-Like robots (CL-MAPF) problem. We propose a novel hierarchical search-based solver called Car-Like Conflict-Based Search to address this problem. It applies a body conflict tree to address collisions considering the shapes of the agents. We introduce a new algorithm called Spatiotemporal Hybrid-State A* as the single-agent planner to generate agents' paths satisfying both kinematic and spatiotemporal constraints. We also present a sequential planning version of our method, sacrificing a small amount of solution quality to achieve a significant reduction in runtime. We compare our method with two baseline algorithms on a dedicated benchmark and validate it in real-world scenarios. The experiment results show that the planning success rate of both baseline algorithms is below 50% for all six scenarios, while our algorithm maintains that of over 98%. It also gives clear evidence that our algorithm scales well to 100 agents in 300 m x 300 m scenario and is able to produce solutions that can be directly applied to Ackermann-steering robots in the real world. The benchmark and source code are released in https://github.com/APRIL-ZJU/CL-CBS. The video of the experiments can be found on YouTube.(C) 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.}
    }

  • J. Zhang, X. Zeng, C. Xu, and Y. Liu, “Real-Time Audio-Guided Multi-Face Reenactment," IEEE Signal Processing Letters, vol. 29, p. 1–5, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Audio-guided face reenactment aims to generate authentic target faces that have matched facial expression of the input audio, and many learning-based methods have successfully achieved this. However, mostmethods can only reenact a particular person once trained or suffer from the low-quality generation of the target images. Also, nearly none of the current reenactment works consider the model size and running speed that are important for practical use. To solve the above challenges, we propose an efficient Audio-guided Multi-face reenactment model named AMNet, which can reenact target faces among multiple persons with corresponding source faces and drive signals as inputs. Concretely, we design a Geometric Controller (GC) module to inject the drive signals so that the model can be optimized in an end-to-end manner and generate more authentic images. Also, we adopt a lightweight network for our face reenactor so that the model can run in realtime on both CPU and GPU devices. Abundant experiments prove our approach’s superiority over existing methods, e.g., averagely decreasing FID by 0.12. and increasing SSIM by 0.031. than APB2Face, while owning fewer parameters (x4 down arrow) and faster CPU speed (x4 up arrow).

    @article{zhang2022rta,
    title = {Real-Time Audio-Guided Multi-Face Reenactment},
    author = {Jiangning Zhang and Xianfang Zeng and Chao Xu and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    journal = {IEEE Signal Processing Letters},
    volume = 29,
    pages = {1--5},
    doi = {10.1109/LSP.2021.3116506},
    abstract = {Audio-guided face reenactment aims to generate authentic target faces that have matched facial expression of the input audio, and many learning-based methods have successfully achieved this. However, mostmethods can only reenact a particular person once trained or suffer from the low-quality generation of the target images. Also, nearly none of the current reenactment works consider the model size and running speed that are important for practical use. To solve the above challenges, we propose an efficient Audio-guided Multi-face reenactment model named AMNet, which can reenact target faces among multiple persons with corresponding source faces and drive signals as inputs. Concretely, we design a Geometric Controller (GC) module to inject the drive signals so that the model can be optimized in an end-to-end manner and generate more authentic images. Also, we adopt a lightweight network for our face reenactor so that the model can run in realtime on both CPU and GPU devices. Abundant experiments prove our approach's superiority over existing methods, e.g., averagely decreasing FID by 0.12. and increasing SSIM by 0.031. than APB2Face, while owning fewer parameters (x4 down arrow) and faster CPU speed (x4 up arrow).}
    }

2021

  • J. Cao, Y. Wang, Y. Liu, and X. Ni, “Multi-Robot Learning Dynamic Obstacle Avoidance in Formation with Information-Directed Exploration," IEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computational Intelligence, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    This paper presents an algorithm that generates distributed collision-free velocities for multi-robot while maintain formation as much as possible. The adaptive formation problem is cast as a sequential decision-making problem, which is solved using reinforcement learning that trains several distributed policies to avoid dynamic obstacles on the top of consensus velocities. We construct the policy with Bayesian Linear Regression based on a neural network (called BNL) to compute the state-action value uncertainty efficiently for sequential decision making. The information-directed sampling is applied in our BNL policy to achieve efficient exploration. By further combining the distributional reinforcement learning, we can estimate the intrinsic uncertainty of the state-action value globally and more accurately. For continuous control tasks, efficient exploration can be achieved by optimizing a policy with the sampled action value function from a BNL model. Through our experiments in some contextual Bandit and sequential decision-making tasks, we show that exploration with the BNL model has improved efficiency in both computation and training samples. By augmenting the consensus velocities with our BNL policy, experiments on Multi-Robot navigation demonstrate that adaptive formation is achieved.

    @article{cao2021mrl,
    title = {Multi-Robot Learning Dynamic Obstacle Avoidance in Formation with Information-Directed Exploration},
    author = {Junjie Cao and Yujie Wang and Yong Liu and Xuesong Ni},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computational Intelligence},
    doi = {10.1109/TETCI.2021.3127925},
    abstract = {This paper presents an algorithm that generates distributed collision-free velocities for multi-robot while maintain formation as much as possible. The adaptive formation problem is cast as a sequential decision-making problem, which is solved using reinforcement learning that trains several distributed policies to avoid dynamic obstacles on the top of consensus velocities. We construct the policy with Bayesian Linear Regression based on a neural network (called BNL) to compute the state-action value uncertainty efficiently for sequential decision making. The information-directed sampling is applied in our BNL policy to achieve efficient exploration. By further combining the distributional reinforcement learning, we can estimate the intrinsic uncertainty of the state-action value globally and more accurately. For continuous control tasks, efficient exploration can be achieved by optimizing a policy with the sampled action value function from a BNL model. Through our experiments in some contextual Bandit and sequential decision-making tasks, we show that exploration with the BNL model has improved efficiency in both computation and training samples. By augmenting the consensus velocities with our BNL policy, experiments on Multi-Robot navigation demonstrate that adaptive formation is achieved.}
    }

  • Q. Shen, J. Lou, Y. Liu, and Y. Jiang, “Hesitant fuzzy multi-attribute decision making based on binary connection number of set pair analysis," Soft Computing, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    To objectively evaluate the influence of hesitant fuzziness on the ranking of alternatives in multi-attribute decision making with hesitant fuzzy or probabilistic hesitant fuzzy information, the binary connection number of set pair analysis is applied to hesitant fuzzy multi-attribute decision making. The hesitant or probabilistic hesitant fuzzy set is transformed to the binary connection number. A hesitant fuzzy multi-attribute decision making model based on binary connection number is then established. Binary connection number theory is utilized to obtain the hesitant fuzzy center and decision-making suggestions about the alternative ranking under different hesitant fuzzy conditions. Experimental examples show that the hesitant fuzzy multi-attribute decision making model based on binary connection number has a certain versatility. It can determine the optimal scheme under the influence of hesitant fuzziness on the alternative ranking and contains the results of the same hesitant fuzzy decision-making problem using other methods, which helps in targeted decision making according to different hesitant fuzzy conditions.

    @article{shen2021hesitantfm,
    title = {Hesitant fuzzy multi-attribute decision making based on binary connection number of set pair analysis},
    author = {Qing Shen and Jungang Lou and Yong Liu and Yunliang Jiang},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {Soft Computing},
    doi = {10.1007/s00500-021-06215-0},
    abstract = {To objectively evaluate the influence of hesitant fuzziness on the ranking of alternatives in multi-attribute decision making with hesitant fuzzy or probabilistic hesitant fuzzy information, the binary connection number of set pair analysis is applied to hesitant fuzzy multi-attribute decision making. The hesitant or probabilistic hesitant fuzzy set is transformed to the binary connection number. A hesitant fuzzy multi-attribute decision making model based on binary connection number is then established. Binary connection number theory is utilized to obtain the hesitant fuzzy center and decision-making suggestions about the alternative ranking under different hesitant fuzzy conditions. Experimental examples show that the hesitant fuzzy multi-attribute decision making model based on binary connection number has a certain versatility. It can determine the optimal scheme under the influence of hesitant fuzziness on the alternative ranking and contains the results of the same hesitant fuzzy decision-making problem using other methods, which helps in targeted decision making according to different hesitant fuzzy conditions.}
    }

  • G. Tian, Y. Sun, Y. Liu, X. Zeng, M. Wang, Y. Liu, J. Zhang, and J. Chen, “Adding before Pruning: Sparse Filter Fusion for Deep Convolutional Neural Networks via Auxiliary Attention," IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Filter pruning is a significant feature selection technique to shrink the existing feature fusion schemes (especially on convolution calculation and model size), which helps to develop more efficient feature fusion models while maintaining state-of-the-art performance. In addition, it reduces the storage and computation requirements of deep neural networks (DNNs) and accelerates the inference process dramatically. Existing methods mainly rely on manual constraints such as normalization to select the filters. A typical pipeline comprises two stages: first pruning the original neural network and then fine-tuning the pruned model. However, choosing a manual criterion can be somehow tricky and stochastic. Moreover, directly regularizing and modifying filters in the pipeline suffer from being sensitive to the choice of hyperparameters, thus making the pruning procedure less robust. To address these challenges, we propose to handle the filter pruning issue through one stage: using an attention-based architecture that adaptively fuses the filter selection with filter learning in a unified network. Specifically, we present a pruning method named adding before pruning (ABP) to make the model focus on the filters of higher significance by training instead of man-made criteria such as norm, rank, etc. First, we add an auxiliary attention layer into the original model and set the significance scores in this layer to be binary. Furthermore, to propagate the gradients in the auxiliary attention layer, we design a specific gradient estimator and prove its effectiveness for convergence in the graph flow through mathematical derivation. In the end, to relieve the dependence on the complicated prior knowledge for designing the thresholding criterion, we simultaneously prune and train the filters to automatically eliminate network redundancy with recoverability. Extensive experimental results on the two typical image classification benchmarks, CIFAR-10 and ILSVRC-2012, illustrate that the proposed approach performs favorably against previous state-of-the-art filter pruning algorithms.

    @article{tian2021abp,
    title = {Adding before Pruning: Sparse Filter Fusion for Deep Convolutional Neural Networks via Auxiliary Attention},
    author = {Guanzhong Tian and Yiran Sun and Yuang Liu and Xianfang Zeng and Mengmeng Wang and Yong Liu and Jiangning Zhang and Jun Chen},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems},
    doi = {10.1109/TNNLS.2021.3106917},
    abstract = {Filter pruning is a significant feature selection technique to shrink the existing feature fusion schemes (especially on convolution calculation and model size), which helps to develop more efficient feature fusion models while maintaining state-of-the-art performance. In addition, it reduces the storage and computation requirements of deep neural networks (DNNs) and accelerates the inference process dramatically. Existing methods mainly rely on manual constraints such as normalization to select the filters. A typical pipeline comprises two stages: first pruning the original neural network and then fine-tuning the pruned model. However, choosing a manual criterion can be somehow tricky and stochastic. Moreover, directly regularizing and modifying filters in the pipeline suffer from being sensitive to the choice of hyperparameters, thus making the pruning procedure less robust. To address these challenges, we propose to handle the filter pruning issue through one stage: using an attention-based architecture that adaptively fuses the filter selection with filter learning in a unified network. Specifically, we present a pruning method named adding before pruning (ABP) to make the model focus on the filters of higher significance by training instead of man-made criteria such as norm, rank, etc. First, we add an auxiliary attention layer into the original model and set the significance scores in this layer to be binary. Furthermore, to propagate the gradients in the auxiliary attention layer, we design a specific gradient estimator and prove its effectiveness for convergence in the graph flow through mathematical derivation. In the end, to relieve the dependence on the complicated prior knowledge for designing the thresholding criterion, we simultaneously prune and train the filters to automatically eliminate network redundancy with recoverability. Extensive experimental results on the two typical image classification benchmarks, CIFAR-10 and ILSVRC-2012, illustrate that the proposed approach performs favorably against previous state-of-the-art filter pruning algorithms.}
    }

  • S. Liu, J. Cao, Y. Wang, W. Chen, and Y. Liu, “Self-play reinforcement learning with comprehensive critic in computer games," Neurocomputing, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Self-play reinforcement learning, where agents learn by playing with themselves, has been successfully applied in many game scenarios. However, the training procedure for self-play reinforcement learning is unstable and more sample-inefficient than (general) reinforcement learning, especially in imperfect information games. To improve the self-play training process, we incorporate a comprehensive critic into the policy gradient method to form a self-play actor-critic (SPAC) method for training agents to play com-puter games. We evaluate our method in four different environments in both competitive and coopera-tive tasks. The results show that the agent trained with our SPAC method outperforms those trained with deep deterministic policy gradient (DDPG) and proximal policy optimization (PPO) algorithms in many different evaluation approaches, which vindicate the effect of our comprehensive critic in the self-play training procedure. CO 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    @article{liu2021spr,
    title = {Self-play reinforcement learning with comprehensive critic in computer games},
    author = {Shanqi Liu and Junjie Cao and Yujie Wang and Wenzhou Chen and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {Neurocomputing},
    doi = {10.1016/j.neucom.2021.04.006},
    abstract = {Self-play reinforcement learning, where agents learn by playing with themselves, has been successfully applied in many game scenarios. However, the training procedure for self-play reinforcement learning is unstable and more sample-inefficient than (general) reinforcement learning, especially in imperfect information games. To improve the self-play training process, we incorporate a comprehensive critic into the policy gradient method to form a self-play actor-critic (SPAC) method for training agents to play com-puter games. We evaluate our method in four different environments in both competitive and coopera-tive tasks. The results show that the agent trained with our SPAC method outperforms those trained with deep deterministic policy gradient (DDPG) and proximal policy optimization (PPO) algorithms in many different evaluation approaches, which vindicate the effect of our comprehensive critic in the self-play training procedure. CO 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.}
    }

  • C. Xu, X. Wu, Y. Li, Y. Jin, M. Wang, and Y. Liu, “Cross-modality online distillation for multi-view action recognition," Neurocomputing, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Recently, some multi-modality features are introduced to the multi-view action recognition methods in order to obtain a more robust performance. However, it is intuitive that not all modalities are available in real applications, such as daily scenes that missing depth modal data and capture RGB sequences only. This raises the challenge of how to learn critical features from multi-modality data, while relying on RGB sequences and still get robust performance at test time. To address this challenge, our paper presents a novel two-stage teacher-student framework, the teacher network takes advantage of multi-view geometry-andtexture features during training, while a student network only given RGB sequences at test time. Specifically, in the first stage, Cross-modality Aggregated Transfer (CAT) network is proposed to transfer multi-view cross-modality aggregated features from the teacher network to the student network. Moreover, We design a Viewpoint-Aware Attention (VAA) module which captures discriminative information across different views to e_ectively combine multi-view features. In the second stage, Multi-view Features Strengthen (MFS) network that contains VAA module as well further strengthen the global view-invariance features of the student network. Besides, both of CAT and MFS learn in an online distillation manner so that the teacher and the student network can be trained jointly. Extensive experiments at IXMAS and Northwestern-UCLA demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.

    @article{xu2021cmo,
    title = {Cross-modality online distillation for multi-view action recognition},
    author = {Chao Xu and Xia Wu and Yachun Li and Yining Jin and Mengmeng Wang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {Neurocomputing},
    doi = {10.1016/j.neucom.2021.05.077},
    abstract = {Recently, some multi-modality features are introduced to the multi-view action recognition methods in order to obtain a more robust performance. However, it is intuitive that not all modalities are available in real applications, such as daily scenes that missing depth modal data and capture RGB sequences only. This raises the challenge of how to learn critical features from multi-modality data, while relying on RGB sequences and still get robust performance at test time. To address this challenge, our paper presents a novel two-stage teacher-student framework, the teacher network takes advantage of multi-view geometry-andtexture features during training, while a student network only given RGB sequences at test time. Specifically, in the first stage, Cross-modality Aggregated Transfer (CAT) network is proposed to transfer multi-view cross-modality aggregated features from the teacher network to the student network. Moreover, We design a Viewpoint-Aware Attention (VAA) module which captures discriminative information across different views to e_ectively combine multi-view features. In the second stage, Multi-view Features Strengthen (MFS) network that contains VAA module as well further strengthen the global view-invariance features of the student network. Besides, both of CAT and MFS learn in an online distillation manner so that the teacher and the student network can be trained jointly. Extensive experiments at IXMAS and Northwestern-UCLA demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.}
    }

  • Z. Zhang, J. Yan, X. Kong, G. Zhai, and Y. Liu, “Efficient Motion Planning based on Kinodynamic Model for Quadruped Robots Following Persons in Confined Spaces," IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Quadruped robots have superior terrain adaptability and flexible movement capabilities than traditional robots. In this paper, we innovatively apply it in person-following tasks, and propose an efficient motion planning scheme for quadruped robots to generate a flexible and effective trajectory in confined spaces. The method builds a real-time local costmap via onboard sensors, which involves both static and dynamic obstacles. And we exploit a simplified kinodynamic model and formulate the friction pyramids formed by Ground Reaction Forces (GRFs) inequality constraints to ensure the executable of the optimized trajectory. In addition, we obtain the optimal following trajectory in the costmap completely based on the robots rectangular footprint description, which ensures that it can walk through the narrow spaces avoiding collision. Finally, a receding horizon control strategy is employed to improve the robustness of motion in complex environments. The proposed motion planning framework is integrated on the quadruped robot JueYing and tested in simulation as well as real scenarios. It shows that the execution success rates in various scenes are all over 90\%.

    @article{zhang2021emp,
    title = {Efficient Motion Planning based on Kinodynamic Model for Quadruped Robots Following Persons in Confined Spaces},
    author = {Zhen Zhang and Jiaqing Yan and Xin Kong and Guangyao Zhai and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics},
    doi = {10.1109/TMECH.2021.3083594},
    abstract = {Quadruped robots have superior terrain adaptability and flexible movement capabilities than traditional robots. In this paper, we innovatively apply it in person-following tasks, and propose an efficient motion planning scheme for quadruped robots to generate a flexible and effective trajectory in confined spaces. The method builds a real-time local costmap via onboard sensors, which involves both static and dynamic obstacles. And we exploit a simplified kinodynamic model and formulate the friction pyramids formed by Ground Reaction Forces (GRFs) inequality constraints to ensure the executable of the optimized trajectory. In addition, we obtain the optimal following trajectory in the costmap completely based on the robots rectangular footprint description, which ensures that it can walk through the narrow spaces avoiding collision. Finally, a receding horizon control strategy is employed to improve the robustness of motion in complex environments. The proposed motion planning framework is integrated on the quadruped robot JueYing and tested in simulation as well as real scenarios. It shows that the execution success rates in various scenes are all over 90\%.}
    }

  • W. Liu, S. Liu, J. Cao, Q. Wang, X. Lang, and Y. Liu, “Learning Communication for Cooperation in Dynamic Agent-Number Environment," IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    The number of agents in many multi-agent systems in the real world changes all the time, such as storage robots and drone cluster systems. Still, most current multi-agent reinforcement learning algorithms are limited to fixed network dimensions, and prior knowledge is used to preset the number of agents in the training phase, which leads to a poor generalization of the algorithm. In addition, these algorithms use centralized training to solve the instability problem of multi-agent systems. However, the centralized learning of large-scale multi-agent reinforcement learning algorithms will lead to an explosion of network dimensions, which in turn leads to very limited scalability of centralized learning algorithms. To solve these two difficulties, we propose Group Centralized Training and Decentralized Execution-Unlimited Dynamic Agent-number Network (GCTDE-UDAN). Firstly, since we use the attention mechanism to select several leaders and establish a dynamic number of teams, and UDAN performs a non-linear combination of all agents’ Q values when performing value decomposition, it is not affected by changes in the number of agents. Moreover, our algorithm can unite any agent to form a group and conduct centralized training within the group, avoiding network dimension explosion caused by global centralized training of large-scale agents. Finally, we verified on the simulation and experimental platform that the algorithm can learn and perform cooperative behaviors in many dynamic multi-agent environments.

    @article{liu2021lcf,
    title = {Learning Communication for Cooperation in Dynamic Agent-Number Environment},
    author = {Weiwei Liu and Shanqi Liu and Junjie Cao and Qi Wang and Xiaolei Lang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics},
    doi = {10.1109/TMECH.2021.3076080},
    abstract = {The number of agents in many multi-agent systems in the real world changes all the time, such as storage robots and drone cluster systems. Still, most current multi-agent reinforcement learning algorithms are limited to fixed network dimensions, and prior knowledge is used to preset the number of agents in the training phase, which leads to a poor generalization of the algorithm. In addition, these algorithms use centralized training to solve the instability problem of multi-agent systems. However, the centralized learning of large-scale multi-agent reinforcement learning algorithms will lead to an explosion of network dimensions, which in turn leads to very limited scalability of centralized learning algorithms. To solve these two difficulties, we propose Group Centralized Training and Decentralized Execution-Unlimited Dynamic Agent-number Network (GCTDE-UDAN). Firstly, since we use the attention mechanism to select several leaders and establish a dynamic number of teams, and UDAN performs a non-linear combination of all agents' Q values when performing value decomposition, it is not affected by changes in the number of agents. Moreover, our algorithm can unite any agent to form a group and conduct centralized training within the group, avoiding network dimension explosion caused by global centralized training of large-scale agents. Finally, we verified on the simulation and experimental platform that the algorithm can learn and perform cooperative behaviors in many dynamic multi-agent environments.}
    }

  • Y. Jiang, K. Zhao, J. Cao, J. Fan, and Y. Liu, “Asynchronous parallel hyperparameter search with population evolution," Control and Decision, vol. 36, p. 1825–1833, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In recent years, with the continuous increase of deep learning models, especially deep reinforcement learning models, the training cost, that is, the search space of hyperparameters, has also continuously increased. However, most traditional hyperparameter search algorithms are based on sequential execution of training, which often takes weeks or even months to find a better hyperparameter configuration. In order to solve the problem of the long search time hyperparameters and the difficulty in finding a better hyperparameter of deep reinforcement learning configuration, this paper proposes a new hyper-parameter search algorithm, named asynchronous parallel hyperparameter search with population evolution. This algorithm combines the idea of evolutionary algorithms and uses a fixed resource budget to search the population model and its hyperparameters asynchronously and in parallel, thereby improving the performance of the algorithm. It is realized that a parameter search algorithm can run on the Ray parallel distributed framework. Experiments show that the parametric asynchronous parallel search based on population evolution on the parallel framework is better than the traditional hyperparameter search algorithm, and its performance is stable.

    @article{fan2021aph,
    title = {Asynchronous parallel hyperparameter search with population evolution},
    author = {Yunliang Jiang and Kang Zhao and Junjie Cao and Jing Fan and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {Control and Decision},
    volume = 36,
    pages = {1825--1833},
    doi = {10.13195/j.kzyjc.2019.1743},
    issue = 8,
    abstract = {In recent years, with the continuous increase of deep learning models, especially deep reinforcement learning models, the training cost, that is, the search space of hyperparameters, has also continuously increased. However, most traditional hyperparameter search algorithms are based on sequential execution of training, which often takes weeks or even months to find a better hyperparameter configuration. In order to solve the problem of the long search time hyperparameters and the difficulty in finding a better hyperparameter of deep reinforcement learning configuration, this paper proposes a new hyper-parameter search algorithm, named asynchronous parallel hyperparameter search with population evolution. This algorithm combines the idea of evolutionary algorithms and uses a fixed resource budget to search the population model and its hyperparameters asynchronously and in parallel, thereby improving the performance of the algorithm. It is realized that a parameter search algorithm can run on the Ray parallel distributed framework. Experiments show that the parametric asynchronous parallel search based on population evolution on the parallel framework is better than the traditional hyperparameter search algorithm, and its performance is stable.}
    }

  • D. Yang, Z. Pan, Y. Cao, Y. Wang, X. Lai, J. Yang, and Y. Liu, “Wind measurement by computer vision on unmanned sailboat," International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications, vol. 5, p. 252–263, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    The measurement accuracy of wind direction and wind speed is very important to the unmanned sailboat control, but the mature mechanical wind sensor and ultrasonic wind sensor both have great defects to be applied to the unmanned sailboat. Inspired by previous works on neural networks, we propose a low-cost, real-time, and robust wind measurement system based on computer vision (CV). This CV-wind-sensor includes an airflow rope and a camera, which can be simply deployed on the sailboat. We implement a prototype system on the FPGA platform and run a series of experiments that demonstrate the promising performance of our system. For example, the absolute measurement loss of the CV sensor in this paper is basically kept below 0.4 m/s, which shows a great advantage of measurement accuracy compared with the mechanical sensor.

    @article{yang2021wmb,
    title = {Wind measurement by computer vision on unmanned sailboat},
    author = {Dasheng Yang and Zaisheng Pan and Yan Cao and Yifan Wang and Xiao Lai and Jian Yang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications},
    volume = 5,
    pages = {252--263},
    doi = {10.1007/s41315-021-00171-6},
    issue = 2,
    abstract = {The measurement accuracy of wind direction and wind speed is very important to the unmanned sailboat control, but the mature mechanical wind sensor and ultrasonic wind sensor both have great defects to be applied to the unmanned sailboat. Inspired by previous works on neural networks, we propose a low-cost, real-time, and robust wind measurement system based on computer vision (CV). This CV-wind-sensor includes an airflow rope and a camera, which can be simply deployed on the sailboat. We implement a prototype system on the FPGA platform and run a series of experiments that demonstrate the promising performance of our system. For example, the absolute measurement loss of the CV sensor in this paper is basically kept below 0.4 m/s, which shows a great advantage of measurement accuracy compared with the mechanical sensor.}
    }

  • S. Lin, J. Huang, W. Chen, W. Zhou, J. Xu, Y. Liu, and J. Yao, “Intelligent warehouse monitoring based on distributed system and edge computing," International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications, vol. 5, p. 130–142, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    This paper mainly focuses on the volume calculation of materials in the warehouse where sand and gravel materials are stored and monitored whether materials are lacking in real-time. Specifically, we proposed the sandpile model and the point cloud projection obtained from the LiDAR sensors to calculate the material volume. We use distributed edge computing modules to build a centralized system and transmit data remotely through a high-power wireless network, which solves sensor placement and data transmission in a complex warehouse environment. Our centralized system can also reduce worker participation in a harsh factorial environment. Furthermore, the point cloud data of the warehouse is colored to visualize the actual factorial environment. Our centralized system has been deployed in the real factorial environment and got a good performance.

    @article{huang2021iwm,
    title = {Intelligent warehouse monitoring based on distributed system and edge computing},
    author = {Sen Lin and Jianxin Huang and Wenzhou Chen and Wenlong Zhou and Jinhong Xu and Yong Liu and Jinqiang Yao},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications},
    volume = 5,
    pages = {130--142},
    doi = {10.1007/s41315-021-00173-4},
    issue = 2,
    abstract = {This paper mainly focuses on the volume calculation of materials in the warehouse where sand and gravel materials are stored and monitored whether materials are lacking in real-time. Specifically, we proposed the sandpile model and the point cloud projection obtained from the LiDAR sensors to calculate the material volume. We use distributed edge computing modules to build a centralized system and transmit data remotely through a high-power wireless network, which solves sensor placement and data transmission in a complex warehouse environment. Our centralized system can also reduce worker participation in a harsh factorial environment. Furthermore, the point cloud data of the warehouse is colored to visualize the actual factorial environment. Our centralized system has been deployed in the real factorial environment and got a good performance.}
    }

  • J. Zhang, C. Xu, X. Zhao, L. Liu, Y. Liu, J. Yao, and Z. Pan, “Learning hierarchical and efficient Person re-identification for robotic navigation," International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications, vol. 5, p. 104–118, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Recent works in the person re-identification task mainly focus on the model accuracy while ignoring factors related to efficiency, e.g., model size and latency, which are critical for practical application. In this paper, we propose a novel Hierarchical andEfficientNetwork (HENet) that learns hierarchical global, partial, and recovery features ensemble under the supervision of multiple loss combinations. To further improve the robustness against the irregular occlusion, we propose a new dataset augmentation approach, dubbed random polygon erasing, to random erase the input image’s irregular area imitating the body part missing. We also propose an EfficiencyScore (ES) metric to evaluate the model efficiency. Extensive experiments on Market1501, DukeMTMC-ReID, and CUHK03 datasets show the efficiency and superiority of our approach compared with epoch-making methods. We further deploy HENet on a robotic car, and the experimental result demonstrates the effectiveness of our method for robotic navigation.

    @article{zhang2021lha,
    title = {Learning hierarchical and efficient Person re-identification for robotic navigation},
    author = {Jiangning Zhang and Chao Xu and Xiangrui Zhao and Liang Liu and Yong Liu and Jinqiang Yao and Zaisheng Pan},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications},
    volume = 5,
    pages = {104--118},
    doi = {10.1007/s41315-021-00167-2},
    issue = 2,
    abstract = {Recent works in the person re-identification task mainly focus on the model accuracy while ignoring factors related to efficiency, e.g., model size and latency, which are critical for practical application. In this paper, we propose a novel Hierarchical andEfficientNetwork (HENet) that learns hierarchical global, partial, and recovery features ensemble under the supervision of multiple loss combinations. To further improve the robustness against the irregular occlusion, we propose a new dataset augmentation approach, dubbed random polygon erasing, to random erase the input image's irregular area imitating the body part missing. We also propose an EfficiencyScore (ES) metric to evaluate the model efficiency. Extensive experiments on Market1501, DukeMTMC-ReID, and CUHK03 datasets show the efficiency and superiority of our approach compared with epoch-making methods. We further deploy HENet on a robotic car, and the experimental result demonstrates the effectiveness of our method for robotic navigation.}
    }

  • L. Liu, Y. Liao, Y. Wang, A. Geiger, and Y. Liu, “Learning Steering Kernels for Guided Depth Completion," IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, vol. 30, p. 2850–2861, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    This paper addresses the guided depth completion task in which the goal is to predict a dense depth map given a guidance RGB image and sparse depth measurements. Recent advances on this problem nurture hopes that one day we can acquire accurate and dense depth at a very low cost. A major challenge of guided depth completion is to effectively make use of extremely sparse measurements, e.g., measurements covering less than 1% of the image pixels. In this paper, we propose a fully differentiable model that avoids convolving on sparse tensors by jointly learning depth interpolation and refinement. More specifically, we propose a differentiable kernel regression layer that interpolates the sparse depth measurements via learned kernels. We further refine the interpolated depth map using a residual depth refinement layer which leads to improved performance compared to learning absolute depth prediction using a vanilla network. We provide experimental evidence that our differentiable kernel regression layer not only enables end-to-end training from very sparse measurements using standard convolutional network architectures, but also leads to better depth interpolation results compared to existing heuristically motivated methods. We demonstrate that our method outperforms many state-of-the-art guided depth completion techniques on both NYUv2 and KITTI. We further show the generalization ability of our method with respect to the density and spatial statistics of the sparse depth measurements.

    @article{liu2021lsk,
    title = {Learning Steering Kernels for Guided Depth Completion},
    author = {Lina Liu and Yiyi Liao and Yue Wang and Andreas Geiger and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Image Processing},
    volume = 30,
    pages = {2850--2861},
    doi = {10.1109/TIP.2021.3055629},
    abstract = {This paper addresses the guided depth completion task in which the goal is to predict a dense depth map given a guidance RGB image and sparse depth measurements. Recent advances on this problem nurture hopes that one day we can acquire accurate and dense depth at a very low cost. A major challenge of guided depth completion is to effectively make use of extremely sparse measurements, e.g., measurements covering less than 1% of the image pixels. In this paper, we propose a fully differentiable model that avoids convolving on sparse tensors by jointly learning depth interpolation and refinement. More specifically, we propose a differentiable kernel regression layer that interpolates the sparse depth measurements via learned kernels. We further refine the interpolated depth map using a residual depth refinement layer which leads to improved performance compared to learning absolute depth prediction using a vanilla network. We provide experimental evidence that our differentiable kernel regression layer not only enables end-to-end training from very sparse measurements using standard convolutional network architectures, but also leads to better depth interpolation results compared to existing heuristically motivated methods. We demonstrate that our method outperforms many state-of-the-art guided depth completion techniques on both NYUv2 and KITTI. We further show the generalization ability of our method with respect to the density and spatial statistics of the sparse depth measurements.}
    }

  • X. Zeng, W. Wu, G. Tian, F. Li, and Y. Liu, “Deep Superpixel Convolutional Network for Image Recognition," IEEE Signal Processing Letters, vol. 28, pp. 922-926, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Due to the high representational efficiency, superpixel largely reduces the number of image primitives for subsequent processing. However, superpixel is scarcely utilized in recent methods since its irregular shape is intractable for standard convolutional layer. In this paper, we propose an end-to-end trainable superpixel convolutional network, named SPNet, to learn high-level representation on image superpixel primitives. We start by treating irregular superpixel lattices as a 2D point cloud, where the low-level features inside one superpixel are aggregated to one feature vector. We replace the standard convolutional layer with the PointConv layer to handle the irregular and unordered point cloud. Besides, we propose grid based downsampling strategies to output uniform 2D sampling result. The resulting network largely utilizes the efficiency of superpixel and provides a novel view for image recognition task. Experiments on image recognition task show promising results compared with prominent image classification methods. The visualization of class activation mapping shows great accuracy at object localization and boundary segmentation.

    @article{zeng2021deepsc,
    title = {Deep Superpixel Convolutional Network for Image Recognition},
    author = {Xianfang Zeng and Wenxuan Wu and Guangzhong Tian and Fuxin Li and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {IEEE Signal Processing Letters},
    volume = 28,
    pages = {922-926},
    doi = {10.1109/LSP.2021.3075605},
    abstract = {Due to the high representational efficiency, superpixel largely reduces the number of image primitives for subsequent processing. However, superpixel is scarcely utilized in recent methods since its irregular shape is intractable for standard convolutional layer. In this paper, we propose an end-to-end trainable superpixel convolutional network, named SPNet, to learn high-level representation on image superpixel primitives. We start by treating irregular superpixel lattices as a 2D point cloud, where the low-level features inside one superpixel are aggregated to one feature vector. We replace the standard convolutional layer with the PointConv layer to handle the irregular and unordered point cloud. Besides, we propose grid based downsampling strategies to output uniform 2D sampling result. The resulting network largely utilizes the efficiency of superpixel and provides a novel view for image recognition task. Experiments on image recognition task show promising results compared with prominent image classification methods. The visualization of class activation mapping shows great accuracy at object localization and boundary segmentation.}
    }

  • G. Tian, J. Chen, X. Zeng, and Y. Liu, “Pruning by Training: A Novel Deep Neural Network Compression Framework for Image Processing," IEEE Signal Processing Letters, vol. 28, p. 344–348, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Filter pruning for a pre-trained convolutional neural network is most normally performed through human-made constraints or criteria such as norms, ranks, etc. Typically, the pruning pipeline comprises two-stage: first learn a sparse structure from the original model, then optimize the weights in the new prune model. One disadvantage of using human-made criteria to prune filters is that the design and selection of threshold criteria depend on complicated prior knowledge. Besides, the pruning process is less robust due to the impact of directly regularizing on filters. To address the problems mentioned, we propose an effective one-stage pruning framework: introducing a trainable collaborative layer to jointly prune and learn neural networks in one go. In our framework, we first add a binary collaborative layer for each original filter. Then, a new type of gradient estimator – asymptotic gradient estimator is first introduced to pass the gradient in the binary collaborative layer. Finally, we simultaneously learn the sparse structure and optimize the weights from the original model in the training process. Our evaluation results on typical benchmarks, CIFAR and ImageNet, demonstrate very promising results against other state-of-the-art filter pruning methods.

    @article{tian2021pbt,
    title = {Pruning by Training: A Novel Deep Neural Network Compression Framework for Image Processing},
    author = {Guanzhong Tian and Jun Chen and Xianfang Zeng and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {IEEE Signal Processing Letters},
    volume = 28,
    pages = {344--348},
    doi = {10.1109/LSP.2021.3054315},
    abstract = {Filter pruning for a pre-trained convolutional neural network is most normally performed through human-made constraints or criteria such as norms, ranks, etc. Typically, the pruning pipeline comprises two-stage: first learn a sparse structure from the original model, then optimize the weights in the new prune model. One disadvantage of using human-made criteria to prune filters is that the design and selection of threshold criteria depend on complicated prior knowledge. Besides, the pruning process is less robust due to the impact of directly regularizing on filters. To address the problems mentioned, we propose an effective one-stage pruning framework: introducing a trainable collaborative layer to jointly prune and learn neural networks in one go. In our framework, we first add a binary collaborative layer for each original filter. Then, a new type of gradient estimator - asymptotic gradient estimator is first introduced to pass the gradient in the binary collaborative layer. Finally, we simultaneously learn the sparse structure and optimize the weights from the original model in the training process. Our evaluation results on typical benchmarks, CIFAR and ImageNet, demonstrate very promising results against other state-of-the-art filter pruning methods.}
    }

  • W. Chen, J. Xu, X. Zhao, Y. Liu, and J. Yang, “Separated Sonar Localization System for Indoor Robot Navigation," IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    This work addresses the task of mobile robot local-ization for indoor navigation. In this paper, we propose a novel indoor localization system based on separated sonar sensors which can be deployed in large-scale indoor environments conveniently. In our approach, the separated sonar receivers deploy on the top ceiling, and the mobile robot equipped with the separated sonar transmitters navigates in the indoor environment. The distance measurements between the receivers and the transmitters can be obtained in real-time from the control board of receivers with the infrared synchronization. The positions of the mobile robot can be computed without accumulative error. And the proposed localization method can achieve high precision in the indoor localization tasks at a very low cost. We also present a calibration method based on the simultaneous localization and mapping(SLAM) to initialize the positions of our system. To evaluate the feasibility and the dynamic accuracy of the proposed system, we construct our localization system in the Virtual Robot Experimentation Platform(V-REP) simulation platform and deploy this system in a real-world environment. Both the simulation and real-world experiments have demonstrated that our system can achieve centimeter-level accuracy. The localization accuracy of the proposed system is sufficient for robot indoor navigation.

    @article{chen2021separatedsl,
    title = {Separated Sonar Localization System for Indoor Robot Navigation},
    author = {Wenzhou Chen and Jinhong Xu and Xiangrui Zhao and Yong Liu and Jian Yang},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics},
    doi = {10.1109/TIE.2020.2994856},
    abstract = {This work addresses the task of mobile robot local-ization for indoor navigation. In this paper, we propose a novel indoor localization system based on separated sonar sensors which can be deployed in large-scale indoor environments conveniently. In our approach, the separated sonar receivers deploy on the top ceiling, and the mobile robot equipped with the separated sonar transmitters navigates in the indoor environment. The distance measurements between the receivers and the transmitters can be obtained in real-time from the control board of receivers with the infrared synchronization. The positions of the mobile robot can be computed without accumulative error. And the proposed localization method can achieve high precision in the indoor localization tasks at a very low cost. We also present a calibration method based on the simultaneous localization and mapping(SLAM) to initialize the positions of our system. To evaluate the feasibility and the dynamic accuracy of the proposed system, we construct our localization system in the Virtual Robot Experimentation Platform(V-REP) simulation platform and deploy this system in a real-world environment. Both the simulation and real-world experiments have demonstrated that our system can achieve centimeter-level accuracy. The localization accuracy of the proposed system is sufficient for robot indoor navigation.}
    }

  • X. Zeng, Y. Pan, H. Zhang, M. Wang, G. Tian, and Y. Liu, “Unpaired Salient Object Translation via Spatial Attention Prior," Neurocomputing, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    With only set-level constraints, unpaired image translation is challenging in discovering the correct semantic-level correspondences between two domains. This limitation often results in false positives such as significantly changing color and appearance of the background during image translation. To address this limitation, we propose the Spatial Attention-Aware Generative Adversarial Network (SAAGAN), a novel approach to jointly learn salient object discovery and translation. Specifically, our generator consists of (1) spatial attention prediction branch and (2) image translation branch. For attention branch, we extract spatial attention prior from a pre-trained classification network to provide weak supervision for object discovery. The proposed attention loss can largely stabilize the training process of attention-guided generator. For translation branch, we revise classical adversarial loss for salient object translation. Such a discriminator only distinguish the distribution of the object between two domains. What is more, we propose a fake sample augmentation strategy to provide extra spatial information for discriminator. Our approach allows simultaneously locating the attention areas in each image and translating the related areas between two domains. Extensive experiments and evaluations show that our model can achieve more realistic mappings compared to state-of-the-art unpaired image translation methods.

    @article{zeng2021unpairedso,
    title = {Unpaired Salient Object Translation via Spatial Attention Prior},
    author = {Xiangfang Zeng and Yusu Pan and Hao Zhang and Mengmeng Wang and Guanzhong Tian and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {Neurocomputing},
    doi = {10.1016/j.neucom.2020.05.105},
    abstract = {With only set-level constraints, unpaired image translation is challenging in discovering the correct semantic-level correspondences between two domains. This limitation often results in false positives such as significantly changing color and appearance of the background during image translation. To address this limitation, we propose the Spatial Attention-Aware Generative Adversarial Network (SAAGAN), a novel approach to jointly learn salient object discovery and translation. Specifically, our generator consists of (1) spatial attention prediction branch and (2) image translation branch. For attention branch, we extract spatial attention prior from a pre-trained classification network to provide weak supervision for object discovery. The proposed attention loss can largely stabilize the training process of attention-guided generator. For translation branch, we revise classical adversarial loss for salient object translation. Such a discriminator only distinguish the distribution of the object between two domains. What is more, we propose a fake sample augmentation strategy to provide extra spatial information for discriminator. Our approach allows simultaneously locating the attention areas in each image and translating the related areas between two domains. Extensive experiments and evaluations show that our model can achieve more realistic mappings compared to state-of-the-art unpaired image translation methods.}
    }

  • M. Zhang, X. Zuo, Y. Chen, Y. Liu, and M. Li, “Pose Estimation for Ground Robots: On Manifold Representation, Integration, Re-Parameterization, and Optimization," IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    In this paper, we focus on motion estimation dedicated for non-holonomic ground robots, by probabilistically fusing measurements from the wheel odometer and exteroceptive sensors. For ground robots, the wheel odometer is widely used in pose estimation tasks, especially in applications under planar-scene based environments. However, since the wheel odometer only provides 2D motion estimates, it is extremely challenging to use that for performing accurate full 6D pose (3D position and 3D orientation) estimation. Traditional methods on 6D pose estimation either approximate sensor or motion models, at the cost of accuracy reduction, or rely on other sensors, e.g., inertial measurement unit (IMU), to provide complementary measurements. By contrast, in this paper, we propose a novel method to utilize the wheel odometer for 6D pose estimation, by modeling and utilizing motion manifold for ground robots. Our approach is probabilistically formulated and only requires the wheel odometer and an exteroceptive sensor (e.g., a camera). Specifically, our method i) formulates the motion manifold of ground robots by parametric representation, ii) performs manifold based 6D integration with the wheel odometer measurements only, and iii) re-parameterizes manifold equations periodically for error reduction. To demonstrate the effectiveness and applicability of the proposed algorithmic modules, we integrate that into a sliding-window pose estimator by using measurements from the wheel odometer and a monocular camera. By conducting extensive simulated and real-world experiments, we show that the proposed algorithm outperforms competing state-of-the-art algorithms by a significant margin in pose estimation accuracy, especially when deployed in complex large-scale real-world environments.

    @article{zhang2021poseef,
    title = {Pose Estimation for Ground Robots: On Manifold Representation, Integration, Re-Parameterization, and Optimization},
    author = {Mingming Zhang and Xingxing Zuo and Yiming Chen and Yong Liu and Mingyang Li},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Robotics},
    doi = {10.1109/TRO.2020.3043970},
    abstract = {In this paper, we focus on motion estimation dedicated for non-holonomic ground robots, by probabilistically fusing measurements from the wheel odometer and exteroceptive sensors. For ground robots, the wheel odometer is widely used in pose estimation tasks, especially in applications under planar-scene based environments. However, since the wheel odometer only provides 2D motion estimates, it is extremely challenging to use that for performing accurate full 6D pose (3D position and 3D orientation) estimation. Traditional methods on 6D pose estimation either approximate sensor or motion models, at the cost of accuracy reduction, or rely on other sensors, e.g., inertial measurement unit (IMU), to provide complementary measurements. By contrast, in this paper, we propose a novel method to utilize the wheel odometer for 6D pose estimation, by modeling and utilizing motion manifold for ground robots. Our approach is probabilistically formulated and only requires the wheel odometer and an exteroceptive sensor (e.g., a camera). Specifically, our method i) formulates the motion manifold of ground robots by parametric representation, ii) performs manifold based 6D integration with the wheel odometer measurements only, and iii) re-parameterizes manifold equations periodically for error reduction. To demonstrate the effectiveness and applicability of the proposed algorithmic modules, we integrate that into a sliding-window pose estimator by using measurements from the wheel odometer and a monocular camera. By conducting extensive simulated and real-world experiments, we show that the proposed algorithm outperforms competing state-of-the-art algorithms by a significant margin in pose estimation accuracy, especially when deployed in complex large-scale real-world environments.},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/pdf/1909.03423.pdf}
    }

  • J. Chen, L. Liu, Y. Liu, and X. Zeng, “A Learning Framework for n-Bit Quantized Neural Networks Toward FPGAs," IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems, vol. 32, p. 1067–1081, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    The quantized neural network (QNN) is an efficient approach for network compression and can be widely used in the implementation of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). This article proposes a novel learning framework for $n$ -bit QNNs, whose weights are constrained to the power of two. To solve the gradient vanishing problem, we propose a reconstructed gradient function for QNNs in the back-propagation algorithm that can directly get the real gradient rather than estimating an approximate gradient of the expected loss. We also propose a novel QNN structure named $n$ -BQ-NN, which uses shift operation to replace the multiply operation and is more suitable for the inference on FPGAs. Furthermore, we also design a shift vector processing element (SVPE) array to replace all 16-bit multiplications with SHIFT operations in convolution operation on FPGAs. We also carry out comparable experiments to evaluate our framework. The experimental results show that the quantized models of ResNet, DenseNet, and AlexNet through our learning framework can achieve almost the same accuracies with the original full-precision models. Moreover, when using our learning framework to train our $n$ -BQ-NN from scratch, it can achieve state-of-the-art results compared with typical low-precision QNNs. Experiments on Xilinx ZCU102 platform show that our $n$ -BQ-NN with our SVPE can execute 2.9 times faster than that with the vector processing element (VPE) in inference. As the SHIFT operation in our SVPE array will not consume digital signal processing (DSP) resources on FPGAs, the experiments have shown that the use of SVPE array also reduces average energy consumption to 68.7% of the VPE array with 16 bit.

    @article{chen2021alf,
    title = {A Learning Framework for n-Bit Quantized Neural Networks Toward FPGAs},
    author = {Jun Chen and Liang Liu and Yong Liu and Xianfang Zeng},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems},
    volume = 32,
    pages = {1067--1081},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/TNNLS.2020.2980041},
    abstract = {The quantized neural network (QNN) is an efficient approach for network compression and can be widely used in the implementation of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). This article proposes a novel learning framework for  $n$ -bit QNNs, whose weights are constrained to the power of two. To solve the gradient vanishing problem, we propose a reconstructed gradient function for QNNs in the back-propagation algorithm that can directly get the real gradient rather than estimating an approximate gradient of the expected loss. We also propose a novel QNN structure named  $n$ -BQ-NN, which uses shift operation to replace the multiply operation and is more suitable for the inference on FPGAs. Furthermore, we also design a shift vector processing element (SVPE) array to replace all 16-bit multiplications with SHIFT operations in convolution operation on FPGAs. We also carry out comparable experiments to evaluate our framework. The experimental results show that the quantized models of ResNet, DenseNet, and AlexNet through our learning framework can achieve almost the same accuracies with the original full-precision models. Moreover, when using our learning framework to train our  $n$ -BQ-NN from scratch, it can achieve state-of-the-art results compared with typical low-precision QNNs. Experiments on Xilinx ZCU102 platform show that our  $n$ -BQ-NN with our SVPE can execute 2.9 times faster than that with the vector processing element (VPE) in inference. As the SHIFT operation in our SVPE array will not consume digital signal processing (DSP) resources on FPGAs, the experiments have shown that the use of SVPE array also reduces average energy consumption to 68.7% of the VPE array with 16 bit.},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/2004.02396}
    }

  • Z. Li, Y. Sun, G. Tian, L. Xie, Y. Liu, H. Su, and Y. He, “A compression pipeline for one-stage object detection model," Journal of Real-Time Image Processing, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Deep neural networks (DNNs) have strong fitting ability on a variety of computer vision tasks, but they also require intensive computing power and large storage space, which are not always available in portable smart devices. Although a lot of studies have contributed to the compression of image classification networks, there are few model compression algorithms for object detection models. In this paper, we propose a general compression pipeline for one-stage object detection networks to meet the real-time requirements. Firstly, we propose a softer pruning strategy on the backbone to reduce the number of filters. Compared with original direct pruning, our method can maintain the integrity of network structure and reduce the drop of accuracy. Secondly, we transfer the knowledge of the original model to the small model by knowledge distillation to reduce the accuracy drop caused by pruning. Finally, as edge devices are more suitable for integer operations, we further transform the 32-bit floating point model into the 8-bit integer model through quantization. With this pipeline, the model size and inference time are compressed to 10% or less of the original, while the mAP is only reduced by 2.5% or less. We verified that performance of the compression pipeline on the Pascal VOC dataset.

    @article{li2021acp,
    title = {A compression pipeline for one-stage object detection model},
    author = {Zhishan Li and Yiran Sun and Guanzhong Tian and Lei Xie and Yong Liu and Hongye Su and Yifan He},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {Journal of Real-Time Image Processing},
    doi = {10.1007/s11554-021-01082-2},
    abstract = {Deep neural networks (DNNs) have strong fitting ability on a variety of computer vision tasks, but they also require intensive computing power and large storage space, which are not always available in portable smart devices. Although a lot of studies have contributed to the compression of image classification networks, there are few model compression algorithms for object detection models. In this paper, we propose a general compression pipeline for one-stage object detection networks to meet the real-time requirements. Firstly, we propose a softer pruning strategy on the backbone to reduce the number of filters. Compared with original direct pruning, our method can maintain the integrity of network structure and reduce the drop of accuracy. Secondly, we transfer the knowledge of the original model to the small model by knowledge distillation to reduce the accuracy drop caused by pruning. Finally, as edge devices are more suitable for integer operations, we further transform the 32-bit floating point model into the 8-bit integer model through quantization. With this pipeline, the model size and inference time are compressed to 10% or less of the original, while the mAP is only reduced by 2.5% or less. We verified that performance of the compression pipeline on the Pascal VOC dataset.}
    }

  • W. Liu, L. Peng, J. Cao, X. Fu, Y. Liu, and Z. Pan, “Ensemble Bootstrapped Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient for Vision-Based Robotic Grasping," IEEE Access, vol. 9, p. 19916–19925, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    With sufficient practice, humans can grab objects they have never seen before through brain decision-making. However, the manipulators, which has a wide range of applications in industrial production, can still only grab specific objects. Because most of the grasp algorithms rely on prior knowledge such as hand-eye calibration results, object model features, and can only target specific types of objects. When the task scenario and the operation target change, it cannot perform effective redeployment. In order to solve the above problems, academia often uses reinforcement learning to train grasping algorithms. However, the method of reinforcement learning in the field of manipulators grasping mainly encounters these main problems: insufficient sample utilization, poor algorithm stability, and limited exploration. This article uses LfD, BC, and DDPG to improve sample utilization. Use multiple critics to integrate and evaluate input actions to solve the problem of algorithm instability. Finally, inspired by Thompson’s sampling idea, the input action is evaluated from different angles, which increases the algorithm’s exploration of the environment and reduces the number of interactions with the environment. EDDPG and EBDDPG algorithm is designed in the article. In order to further improve the generalization ability of the algorithm, this article does not use extra information that is difficult to obtain directly on the physical platform, such as the real coordinates of the target object and the continuous motion space at the end of the manipulator in the Cartesian coordinate system is used as the output of the decision. The simulation results show that, under the same number of interactions, the manipulators’ success rate in grabbing 1000 random objects has increased more than double and reached state-of-the-art(SOTA) performance.

    @article{liu2021ensemblebd,
    title = {Ensemble Bootstrapped Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient for Vision-Based Robotic Grasping},
    author = {Weiwei Liu and Linpeng Peng and Junjie Cao and Xiaokuan Fu and Yong Liu and Zaisheng Pan},
    year = 2021,
    journal = {IEEE Access},
    volume = 9,
    pages = {19916--19925},
    doi = {10.1109/ACCESS.2021.3049860},
    abstract = {With sufficient practice, humans can grab objects they have never seen before through brain decision-making. However, the manipulators, which has a wide range of applications in industrial production, can still only grab specific objects. Because most of the grasp algorithms rely on prior knowledge such as hand-eye calibration results, object model features, and can only target specific types of objects. When the task scenario and the operation target change, it cannot perform effective redeployment. In order to solve the above problems, academia often uses reinforcement learning to train grasping algorithms. However, the method of reinforcement learning in the field of manipulators grasping mainly encounters these main problems: insufficient sample utilization, poor algorithm stability, and limited exploration. This article uses LfD, BC, and DDPG to improve sample utilization. Use multiple critics to integrate and evaluate input actions to solve the problem of algorithm instability. Finally, inspired by Thompson's sampling idea, the input action is evaluated from different angles, which increases the algorithm's exploration of the environment and reduces the number of interactions with the environment. EDDPG and EBDDPG algorithm is designed in the article. In order to further improve the generalization ability of the algorithm, this article does not use extra information that is difficult to obtain directly on the physical platform, such as the real coordinates of the target object and the continuous motion space at the end of the manipulator in the Cartesian coordinate system is used as the output of the decision. The simulation results show that, under the same number of interactions, the manipulators' success rate in grabbing 1000 random objects has increased more than double and reached state-of-the-art(SOTA) performance.}
    }

2020

  • X. Zuo, W. Ye, Y. Yang, R. Zheng, T. Vidal-Calleja, G. Huang, and Y. Liu, “Multimodal localization: Stereo over LiDAR map," Journal of Field Robotics, vol. 37, p. 1003–1026, 2020.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this paper, we present a real‐time high‐precision visual localization system for an autonomous vehicle which employs only low‐cost stereo cameras to localize the vehicle with a priori map built using a more expensive 3D LiDAR sensor. To this end, we construct two different visual maps: a sparse feature visual map for visual odometry (VO) based motion tracking, and a semidense visual map for registration with the prior LiDAR map. To register two point clouds sourced from different modalities (i.e., cameras and LiDAR), we leverage probabilistic weighted normal distributions transformation (ProW‐NDT), by particularly taking into account the uncertainty of source point clouds. The registration results are then fused via pose graph optimization to correct the VO drift. Moreover, surfels extracted from the prior LiDAR map are used to refine the sparse 3D visual features that will further improve VO‐based motion estimation. The proposed system has been tested extensively in both simulated and real‐world experiments, showing that robust, high‐precision, real‐time localization can be achieved.

    @article{zuo2020multimodalls,
    title = {Multimodal localization: Stereo over LiDAR map},
    author = {Xingxing Zuo and Wenlong Ye and Yulin Yang and Renjie Zheng and Teresa Vidal-Calleja and Guoquan Huang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2020,
    journal = {Journal of Field Robotics},
    volume = 37,
    pages = {1003--1026},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1002/rob.21936},
    abstract = {In this paper, we present a real‐time high‐precision visual localization system for an autonomous vehicle which employs only low‐cost stereo cameras to localize the vehicle with a priori map built using a more expensive 3D LiDAR sensor. To this end, we construct two different visual maps: a sparse feature visual map for visual odometry (VO) based motion tracking, and a semidense visual map for registration with the prior LiDAR map. To register two point clouds sourced from different modalities (i.e., cameras and LiDAR), we leverage probabilistic weighted normal distributions transformation (ProW‐NDT), by particularly taking into account the uncertainty of source point clouds. The registration results are then fused via pose graph optimization to correct the VO drift. Moreover, surfels extracted from the prior LiDAR map are used to refine the sparse 3D visual features that will further improve VO‐based motion estimation. The proposed system has been tested extensively in both simulated and real‐world experiments, showing that robust, high‐precision, real‐time localization can be achieved.}
    }

  • J. Cao, W. Liu, Y. Liu, and J. Yang, “Generalize Robot Learning From Demonstration to Variant Scenarios With Evolutionary Policy Gradient," Frontiers in Neurorobotics, vol. 14, 2020.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    There has been substantial growth in research on the robot automation, which aims to make robots capable of directly interacting with the world or human. Robot learning for automation from human demonstration is central to such situation. However, the dependence of demonstration restricts robot to a fixed scenario, without the ability to explore in variant situations to accomplish the same task as in demonstration. Deep reinforcement learning methods may be a good method to make robot learning beyond human demonstration and fulfilling the task in unknown situations. The exploration is the core of such generalization to different environments. While the exploration in reinforcement learning may be ineffective and suffer from the problem of low sample efficiency. In this paper, we present Evolutionary Policy Gradient (EPG) to make robot learn from demonstration and perform goal oriented exploration efficiently. Through goal oriented exploration, our method can generalize robot learned skill to environments with different parameters. Our Evolutionary Policy Gradient combines parameter perturbation with policy gradient method in the framework of Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs) and can fuse the benefits of both, achieving effective and efficient exploration. With demonstration guiding the evolutionary process, robot can accelerate the goal oriented exploration to generalize its capability to variant scenarios. The experiments, carried out in robot control tasks in OpenAI Gym with dense and sparse rewards, show that our EPG is able to provide competitive performance over the original policy gradient methods and EAs. In the manipulator task, our robot can learn to open the door with vision in environments which are different from where the demonstrations are provided.

    @article{cao2020generalizerl,
    title = {Generalize Robot Learning From Demonstration to Variant Scenarios With Evolutionary Policy Gradient},
    author = {Junjie Cao and Weiwei Liu and Yong Liu and Jian Yang},
    year = 2020,
    journal = {Frontiers in Neurorobotics},
    volume = 14,
    doi = { https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbot.2020.00021},
    abstract = {There has been substantial growth in research on the robot automation, which aims to make robots capable of directly interacting with the world or human. Robot learning for automation from human demonstration is central to such situation. However, the dependence of demonstration restricts robot to a fixed scenario, without the ability to explore in variant situations to accomplish the same task as in demonstration. Deep reinforcement learning methods may be a good method to make robot learning beyond human demonstration and fulfilling the task in unknown situations. The exploration is the core of such generalization to different environments. While the exploration in reinforcement learning may be ineffective and suffer from the problem of low sample efficiency. In this paper, we present Evolutionary Policy Gradient (EPG) to make robot learn from demonstration and perform goal oriented exploration efficiently. Through goal oriented exploration, our method can generalize robot learned skill to environments with different parameters. Our Evolutionary Policy Gradient combines parameter perturbation with policy gradient method in the framework of Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs) and can fuse the benefits of both, achieving effective and efficient exploration. With demonstration guiding the evolutionary process, robot can accelerate the goal oriented exploration to generalize its capability to variant scenarios. The experiments, carried out in robot control tasks in OpenAI Gym with dense and sparse rewards, show that our EPG is able to provide competitive performance over the original policy gradient methods and EAs. In the manipulator task, our robot can learn to open the door with vision in environments which are different from where the demonstrations are provided.}
    }

  • J. Chen, Y. Liu, H. Zhang, S. Hou, and J. Yang, “Propagating Asymptotic-Estimated Gradients for Low Bitwidth Quantized Neural Networks," IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing, vol. 14, p. 848–859, 2020.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    The quantized neural networks (QNNs) can be useful for neural network acceleration and compression, but during the training process they pose a challenge: how to propagate the gradient of loss function through the graph flow with a derivative of 0 almost everywhere. In response to this non-differentiable situation, we propose a novel Asymptotic-Quantized Estimator (AQE) to estimate the gradient. In particular, during back-propagation, the graph that relates inputs to output remains smoothness and differentiability. At the end of training, the weights and activations have been quantized to low-precision because of the asymptotic behaviour of AQE. Meanwhile, we propose a M-bit Inputs and N-bit Weights Network (MINW-Net) trained by AQE, a quantized neural network with 1–3 bits weights and activations. In the inference phase, we can use XNOR or SHIFT operations instead of convolution operations to accelerate the MINW-Net. Our experiments on CIFAR datasets demonstrate that our AQE is well defined, and the QNNs with AQE perform better than that with Straight-Through Estimator (STE). For example, in the case of the same ConvNet that has 1-bit weights and activations, our MINW-Net with AQE can achieve a prediction accuracy 1.5% higher than the Binarized Neural Network (BNN) with STE. The MINW-Net, which is trained from scratch by AQE, can achieve comparable classification accuracy as 32-bit counterparts on CIFAR test sets. Extensive experimental results on ImageNet dataset show great superiority of the proposed AQE and our MINW-Net achieves comparable results with other state-of-the-art QNNs.

    @article{chen2020propagatingag,
    title = {Propagating Asymptotic-Estimated Gradients for Low Bitwidth Quantized Neural Networks},
    author = {Jun Chen and Yong Liu and Hao Zhang and Shengnan Hou and Jian Yang},
    year = 2020,
    journal = {IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing},
    volume = 14,
    pages = {848--859},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/JSTSP.2020.2966327},
    abstract = {The quantized neural networks (QNNs) can be useful for neural network acceleration and compression, but during the training process they pose a challenge: how to propagate the gradient of loss function through the graph flow with a derivative of 0 almost everywhere. In response to this non-differentiable situation, we propose a novel Asymptotic-Quantized Estimator (AQE) to estimate the gradient. In particular, during back-propagation, the graph that relates inputs to output remains smoothness and differentiability. At the end of training, the weights and activations have been quantized to low-precision because of the asymptotic behaviour of AQE. Meanwhile, we propose a M-bit Inputs and N-bit Weights Network (MINW-Net) trained by AQE, a quantized neural network with 1–3 bits weights and activations. In the inference phase, we can use XNOR or SHIFT operations instead of convolution operations to accelerate the MINW-Net. Our experiments on CIFAR datasets demonstrate that our AQE is well defined, and the QNNs with AQE perform better than that with Straight-Through Estimator (STE). For example, in the case of the same ConvNet that has 1-bit weights and activations, our MINW-Net with AQE can achieve a prediction accuracy 1.5% higher than the Binarized Neural Network (BNN) with STE. The MINW-Net, which is trained from scratch by AQE, can achieve comparable classification accuracy as 32-bit counterparts on CIFAR test sets. Extensive experimental results on ImageNet dataset show great superiority of the proposed AQE and our MINW-Net achieves comparable results with other state-of-the-art QNNs.},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/2003.04296}
    }

  • J. Ri, G. Tian, Y. Liu, W. Xu, and J. Lou, “Extreme learning machine with hybrid cost function of G-mean and probability for imbalance learning," International Journal of Machine Learning and Cybernetics, vol. 11, p. 2007–2020, 2020.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Extreme learning machine(ELM) is a simple and fast machine learning algorithm. However, similar to other conventional learning algorithms, the classical ELM can not well process the problem of imbalanced data distribution. In this paper, in order to improve the learning performance of classical ELM for imbalanced data learning, we present a novel variant of the ELM algorithm based on a hybrid cost function which employs the probability that given training sample belong in each class to calculate the G-mean. We perform comparable experiments for our approach and the state-of-the-arts methods on standard classification datasets which consist of 58 binary datasets and 9 multiclass datasets under different degrees of imbalance ratio. Experimental results show that our proposed algorithm can improve the classification performance significantly compared with other state-of-the-art methods.

    @article{ri2020extremelm,
    title = {Extreme learning machine with hybrid cost function of G-mean and probability for imbalance learning},
    author = {JongHyok Ri and Guanzhong Tian and Yong Liu and Weihua Xu and Jungang Lou},
    year = 2020,
    journal = {International Journal of Machine Learning and Cybernetics},
    volume = 11,
    pages = {2007--2020},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1007/s13042-020-01090-x},
    abstract = {Extreme learning machine(ELM) is a simple and fast machine learning algorithm. However, similar to other conventional learning algorithms, the classical ELM can not well process the problem of imbalanced data distribution. In this paper, in order to improve the learning performance of classical ELM for imbalanced data learning, we present a novel variant of the ELM algorithm based on a hybrid cost function which employs the probability that given training sample belong in each class to calculate the G-mean. We perform comparable experiments for our approach and the state-of-the-arts methods on standard classification datasets which consist of 58 binary datasets and 9 multiclass datasets under different degrees of imbalance ratio. Experimental results show that our proposed algorithm can improve the classification performance significantly compared with other state-of-the-art methods.}
    }

  • W. Ye, J. Sun, M. Xu, X. Yang, H. Li, and Y. Liu, “Detecting Aging Substation Transformers by Audio Signal with Deep Neural Network," Lecture Notes in Computer Science, p. 70–82, 2020.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In order to monitor the aging of transformers and ensure the operational safety in substations, a practical detection system for indoor substation transformers based on the analysis of audio signal is designed, which use computer technology instead of manpower to efficiently monitor the transformers working states in real-time. Our work consists of a small and low cost AI-STBOX and an intelligent AI Cloud Platform. AI-STBOX is installed directionally in each transformer room for continuously collecting, compressing and uploading the transformers audio data. The AI Cloud Platform receives audio data from AI-STBOX, analyses and organizes the data to low-dimensional speech features with STFT and Mel cepstrum analysis. Input the features into a powerful deep neural network, the system can quickly distinguish the working states of each substation transformer before is has serious faults. It can locate aging transformers, command the maintenance platform to quickly release the repair task, thus avoid unforeseeable outages and minimize planned downtimes. The approach has achieved excellent results in the substation aging transformers detection scene.

    @article{ye2020detectingas,
    title = {Detecting Aging Substation Transformers by Audio Signal with Deep Neural Network},
    author = {Wei Ye and Jiasai Sun and Min Xu and Xuemeng Yang and Hongliang Li and Yong Liu},
    year = 2020,
    journal = {Lecture Notes in Computer Science},
    pages = {70--82},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-61510-2_7},
    abstract = {In order to monitor the aging of transformers and ensure the operational safety in substations, a practical detection system for indoor substation transformers based on the analysis of audio signal is designed, which use computer technology instead of manpower to efficiently monitor the transformers working states in real-time. Our work consists of a small and low cost AI-STBOX and an intelligent AI Cloud Platform. AI-STBOX is installed directionally in each transformer room for continuously collecting, compressing and uploading the transformers audio data. The AI Cloud Platform receives audio data from AI-STBOX, analyses and organizes the data to low-dimensional speech features with STFT and Mel cepstrum analysis. Input the features into a powerful deep neural network, the system can quickly distinguish the working states of each substation transformer before is has serious faults. It can locate aging transformers, command the maintenance platform to quickly release the repair task, thus avoid unforeseeable outages and minimize planned downtimes. The approach has achieved excellent results in the substation aging transformers detection scene.}
    }

  • G. Zhai, L. Liu, L. Zhang, and Y. Liu, “PoseConvGRU: A Monocular Approach for Visual Ego-motion Estimation by Learning," Pattern Recognit., vol. 102, p. 107187, 2020.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    While many visual ego-motion algorithm variants have been proposed in the past decade, learning based ego-motion estimation methods have seen an increasing attention because of its desirable properties of robustness to image noise and camera calibration independence. In this work, we propose a data-driven approach of fully trainable visual ego-motion estimation for a monocular camera. We use an end-to-end learning approach in allowing the model to map directly from input image pairs to an estimate of ego-motion (parameterized as 6-DoF transformation matrices). We introduce a novel two-module Long-term Recurrent Convolutional Neural Networks called PoseConvGRU, with an explicit sequence pose estimation loss to achieve this. The feature-encoding module encodes the short-term motion feature in an image pair, while the memory-propagating module captures the long-term motion feature in the consecutive image pairs. The visual memory is implemented with convolutional gated recurrent units, which allows propagating information over time. At each time step, two consecutive RGB images are stacked together to form a 6 channels tensor for module-1 to learn how to extract motion information and estimate poses. The sequence of output maps is then passed through a stacked ConvGRU module to generate the relative transformation pose of each image pair. We also augment the training data by randomly skipping frames to simulate the velocity variation which results in a better performance in turning and high-velocity situations. We evaluate the performance of our proposed approach on the KITTI Visual Odometry benchmark. The experiments show a competitive performance of the proposed method to the geometric method and encourage further exploration of learning based methods for the purpose of estimating camera ego-motion even though geometrical methods demonstrate promising results.

    @article{zhai2020poseconvgruam,
    title = {PoseConvGRU: A Monocular Approach for Visual Ego-motion Estimation by Learning},
    author = {Guangyao Zhai and Liang Liu and Linjian Zhang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2020,
    journal = {Pattern Recognit.},
    volume = 102,
    pages = 107187,
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/j.patcog.2019.107187},
    abstract = {While many visual ego-motion algorithm variants have been proposed in the past decade, learning based ego-motion estimation methods have seen an increasing attention because of its desirable properties of robustness to image noise and camera calibration independence. In this work, we propose a data-driven approach of fully trainable visual ego-motion estimation for a monocular camera. We use an end-to-end learning approach in allowing the model to map directly from input image pairs to an estimate of ego-motion (parameterized as 6-DoF transformation matrices). We introduce a novel two-module Long-term Recurrent Convolutional Neural Networks called PoseConvGRU, with an explicit sequence pose estimation loss to achieve this. The feature-encoding module encodes the short-term motion feature in an image pair, while the memory-propagating module captures the long-term motion feature in the consecutive image pairs. The visual memory is implemented with convolutional gated recurrent units, which allows propagating information over time. At each time step, two consecutive RGB images are stacked together to form a 6 channels tensor for module-1 to learn how to extract motion information and estimate poses. The sequence of output maps is then passed through a stacked ConvGRU module to generate the relative transformation pose of each image pair. We also augment the training data by randomly skipping frames to simulate the velocity variation which results in a better performance in turning and high-velocity situations. We evaluate the performance of our proposed approach on the KITTI Visual Odometry benchmark. The experiments show a competitive performance of the proposed method to the geometric method and encourage further exploration of learning based methods for the purpose of estimating camera ego-motion even though geometrical methods demonstrate promising results.}
    }

  • X. Zhao, L. Liu, R. Zheng, W. Ye, and Y. Liu, “A Robust Stereo Feature-aided Semi-direct SLAM System," Robotics and Autonomous Systems, vol. 132, p. 103597, 2020.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In autonomous driving, many intelligent perception technologies have been put in use. However, visual SLAM still has problems with robustness, which limits its application, although it has been developed for a long time. We propose a feature-aided semi-direct approach to combine the direct and indirect methods in visual SLAM to allow robust localization under various situations, including large-baseline motion, textureless environment, and great illumination changes. In our approach, we first calculate inter-frame pose estimation by feature matching. Then we use the direct alignment and a multi-scale pyramid, which employs the previous coarse estimation as a priori, to obtain a more precise result. To get more accurate photometric parameters, we combine the online photometric calibration method with visual odometry. Furthermore, we replace the Shi–Tomasi corner with the ORB feature, which is more robust to illumination. For extreme brightness change, we employ the dark channel prior to weaken the halation and maintain the consistency of the image. To evaluate our approach, we build a full stereo visual SLAM system. Experiments on the publicly available dataset and our mobile robot dataset indicate that our approach improves the accuracy and robustness of the SLAM system.

    @article{zhao2020ars,
    title = {A Robust Stereo Feature-aided Semi-direct SLAM System},
    author = {Xiangrui Zhao and Lina Liu and Renjie Zheng and Wenlong Ye and Yong Liu},
    year = 2020,
    journal = {Robotics and Autonomous Systems},
    volume = 132,
    pages = 103597,
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/j.robot.2020.103597},
    abstract = {In autonomous driving, many intelligent perception technologies have been put in use. However, visual SLAM still has problems with robustness, which limits its application, although it has been developed for a long time. We propose a feature-aided semi-direct approach to combine the direct and indirect methods in visual SLAM to allow robust localization under various situations, including large-baseline motion, textureless environment, and great illumination changes. In our approach, we first calculate inter-frame pose estimation by feature matching. Then we use the direct alignment and a multi-scale pyramid, which employs the previous coarse estimation as a priori, to obtain a more precise result. To get more accurate photometric parameters, we combine the online photometric calibration method with visual odometry. Furthermore, we replace the Shi–Tomasi corner with the ORB feature, which is more robust to illumination. For extreme brightness change, we employ the dark channel prior to weaken the halation and maintain the consistency of the image. To evaluate our approach, we build a full stereo visual SLAM system. Experiments on the publicly available dataset and our mobile robot dataset indicate that our approach improves the accuracy and robustness of the SLAM system.}
    }

2019

  • W. Chen, S. Zhou, Z. Pan, H. Zheng, and Y. Liu, “Mapless Collaborative Navigation for a Multi-Robot System Based on the Deep Reinforcement Learning," Applied Sciences, vol. 9, p. 4198, 2019.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Compared with the single robot system, a multi-robot system has higher efficiency and fault tolerance. The multi-robot system has great potential in some application scenarios, such as the robot search, rescue and escort tasks, and so on. Deep reinforcement learning provides a potential framework for multi-robot formation and collaborative navigation. This paper mainly studies the collaborative formation and navigation of multi-robots by using the deep reinforcement learning algorithm. The proposed method improves the classical Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (DDPG) to address the single robot mapless navigation task. We also extend the single-robot Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient algorithm to the multi-robot system, and obtain the Parallel Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (PDDPG). By utilizing the 2D lidar sensor, the group of robots can accomplish the formation construction task and the collaborative formation navigation task. The experiment results in a Gazebo simulation platform illustrates that our method is capable of guiding mobile robots to construct the formation and keep the formation during group navigation, directly through raw lidar data inputs.

    @article{chen2019maplesscn,
    title = {Mapless Collaborative Navigation for a Multi-Robot System Based on the Deep Reinforcement Learning},
    author = {Wenzhou Chen and Shizheng Zhou and Zaisheng Pan and Huixian Zheng and Yong Liu},
    year = 2019,
    journal = {Applied Sciences},
    volume = 9,
    pages = 4198,
    doi = {10.3390/app9204198},
    abstract = {Compared with the single robot system, a multi-robot system has higher efficiency and fault tolerance. The multi-robot system has great potential in some application scenarios, such as the robot search, rescue and escort tasks, and so on. Deep reinforcement learning provides a potential framework for multi-robot formation and collaborative navigation. This paper mainly studies the collaborative formation and navigation of multi-robots by using the deep reinforcement learning algorithm. The proposed method improves the classical Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (DDPG) to address the single robot mapless navigation task. We also extend the single-robot Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient algorithm to the multi-robot system, and obtain the Parallel Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (PDDPG). By utilizing the 2D lidar sensor, the group of robots can accomplish the formation construction task and the collaborative formation navigation task. The experiment results in a Gazebo simulation platform illustrates that our method is capable of guiding mobile robots to construct the formation and keep the formation during group navigation, directly through raw lidar data inputs.}
    }

  • X. Fu, Y. Liu, and Z. Wang, “Active Learning-Based Grasp for Accurate Industrial Manipulation," IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, vol. 16, p. 1610–1618, 2019.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    We propose an active learning-based grasp method for accurate industrial manipulation that combines the high accuracy of geometrically driven grasp methods and the generalization ability of data-driven grasp methods. Our grasp sequence consists of pregrasp stage and grasp stage which integrates the active perception and manipulation. In pregrasp stage, the manipulator actively moves and perceives the object. At each step, given the perception image, a motion is chosen so that the manipulator can adjust to a proper pose to grasp the object. We train a convolutional neural network to estimate the motion and combine the network with a closed-loop control so that the end effector can move to the pregrasp state. In grasp stage, the manipulator executes a fixed motion to complete the grasp task. The fixed motion can be acquired from the demonstration with nonexpert conveniently. Our proposed method does not require the prior knowledge of camera intrinsic parameters, hand-eye transformation, or manually designed feature of objects. Instead, the training data sets containing prior knowledge are collected through interactive perception. The method can be easily transferred to new tasks with a few human interventions and is able to complete high accuracy grasp task with a certain robustness to partial observation condition. In our circuit board grasping tests, we could achieve a grasp accuracy of 0.8 mm and 0.6°. Note to Practitioners—The research in this paper is motivated by the following practical problem. Manipulators on industrial lines can complete high accuracy tasks with hand-crafting features of objects. The perception is only used for object detection and localization. It is not flexible since the prior knowledge differs from tasks, which takes a long time to deploy in a new task. Besides, only well-trained experts are qualified to complete the deployment process. Our grasp method uses a convolutional network to estimate the motion for manipulator directly from images. The camera is mounted on the manipulator and can perceive the object actively. The training data set of the network is specific for different objects that can be automatically collected with a few human interventions. Our method simplifies the deployment process and can be applied in 3C industry (computers, communications, and consumer electronics) where the products upgrade frequently.

    @article{fu2019activelg,
    title = {Active Learning-Based Grasp for Accurate Industrial Manipulation},
    author = {Xiaokuan Fu and Yong Liu and Zhilei Wang},
    year = 2019,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering},
    volume = 16,
    pages = {1610--1618},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/TASE.2019.2897791},
    abstract = {We propose an active learning-based grasp method for accurate industrial manipulation that combines the high accuracy of geometrically driven grasp methods and the generalization ability of data-driven grasp methods. Our grasp sequence consists of pregrasp stage and grasp stage which integrates the active perception and manipulation. In pregrasp stage, the manipulator actively moves and perceives the object. At each step, given the perception image, a motion is chosen so that the manipulator can adjust to a proper pose to grasp the object. We train a convolutional neural network to estimate the motion and combine the network with a closed-loop control so that the end effector can move to the pregrasp state. In grasp stage, the manipulator executes a fixed motion to complete the grasp task. The fixed motion can be acquired from the demonstration with nonexpert conveniently. Our proposed method does not require the prior knowledge of camera intrinsic parameters, hand-eye transformation, or manually designed feature of objects. Instead, the training data sets containing prior knowledge are collected through interactive perception. The method can be easily transferred to new tasks with a few human interventions and is able to complete high accuracy grasp task with a certain robustness to partial observation condition. In our circuit board grasping tests, we could achieve a grasp accuracy of 0.8 mm and 0.6°. Note to Practitioners—The research in this paper is motivated by the following practical problem. Manipulators on industrial lines can complete high accuracy tasks with hand-crafting features of objects. The perception is only used for object detection and localization. It is not flexible since the prior knowledge differs from tasks, which takes a long time to deploy in a new task. Besides, only well-trained experts are qualified to complete the deployment process. Our grasp method uses a convolutional network to estimate the motion for manipulator directly from images. The camera is mounted on the manipulator and can perceive the object actively. The training data set of the network is specific for different objects that can be automatically collected with a few human interventions. Our method simplifies the deployment process and can be applied in 3C industry (computers, communications, and consumer electronics) where the products upgrade frequently.}
    }

  • L. Liu, Y. Liu, and J. Zhang, “Learning-Based Hand Motion Capture and Understanding in Assembly Process," IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, vol. 66, p. 9703–9712, 2019.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Manual assembly is still an essential part in modern manufacturing. Understanding the actual state of the assembly process can not only improve quality control of products, but also collect comprehensive data for production planning and proficiency assessments. Addressing the rising complexity led by the uncertainty in manual assembly, this paper presents an efficient approach to automatically capture and analyze hand operations in the assembly process. In this paper, a detection-based tracking method is introduced to capture trajectories of hand movement from the camera installed in each workstation. Then, the actions in hand trajectories are identified with a novel temporal action localization model. The experimental results have proved that our method reached the application level with high accuracy and a low computational cost. The proposed system is lightweight enough to be quickly set up on an embedded computing device for real-time online inference and on a cloud server for offline analysis as well.

    @article{liu2019learningbasedhm,
    title = {Learning-Based Hand Motion Capture and Understanding in Assembly Process},
    author = {Liang Liu and Yong Liu and Jiangning Zhang},
    year = 2019,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics},
    volume = 66,
    pages = {9703--9712},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/TIE.2018.2884206},
    abstract = {Manual assembly is still an essential part in modern manufacturing. Understanding the actual state of the assembly process can not only improve quality control of products, but also collect comprehensive data for production planning and proficiency assessments. Addressing the rising complexity led by the uncertainty in manual assembly, this paper presents an efficient approach to automatically capture and analyze hand operations in the assembly process. In this paper, a detection-based tracking method is introduced to capture trajectories of hand movement from the camera installed in each workstation. Then, the actions in hand trajectories are identified with a novel temporal action localization model. The experimental results have proved that our method reached the application level with high accuracy and a low computational cost. The proposed system is lightweight enough to be quickly set up on an embedded computing device for real-time online inference and on a cloud server for offline analysis as well.}
    }

  • G. Tian, L. Liu, J. Ri, Y. Liu, and Y. Sun, “ObjectFusion: An object detection and segmentation framework with RGB-D SLAM and convolutional neural networks," Neurocomputing, vol. 345, p. 3–14, 2019.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Given the driving advances on CNNs (Convolutional Neural Networks) [1], deep neural networks being deployed for accurate detection and semantic reconstruction in SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) has become a trend. However, as far as we know, almost all existing methods focus on design a specific CNN architecture for single task. In this paper, we propose a novel framework which employs a general object detection CNN to fuse with a SLAM system towards obtaining better performances on both detection and semantic segmentation in 3D space. Our approach first use CNN-based detection network to obtain the 2D object proposals which can be used to establish the local target map. We then use the results estimated from SLAM to update the dynamic global target map based on the local target map obtained by CNNs. Finally, we are able to obtain the detection result for the current frame by projecting the global target map into 2D space. On the other hand, we send the estimation results back to SLAM and update the semantic surfel model in SLAM system. Therefore, we can acquire the segmentation result by projecting the updated 3D surfel model into 2D. Our fusion scheme privileges in object detection and segmentation by integrating with SLAM system to preserve the spatial continuity and temporal consistency. Evaluation performances on four datasets demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of our method.

    @article{tian2019objectfusionao,
    title = {ObjectFusion: An object detection and segmentation framework with RGB-D SLAM and convolutional neural networks},
    author = {Guanzhong Tian and Liang Liu and JongHyok Ri and Yong Liu and Yiran Sun},
    year = 2019,
    journal = {Neurocomputing},
    volume = 345,
    pages = {3--14},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/J.NEUCOM.2019.01.088},
    abstract = {Given the driving advances on CNNs (Convolutional Neural Networks) [1], deep neural networks being deployed for accurate detection and semantic reconstruction in SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) has become a trend. However, as far as we know, almost all existing methods focus on design a specific CNN architecture for single task. In this paper, we propose a novel framework which employs a general object detection CNN to fuse with a SLAM system towards obtaining better performances on both detection and semantic segmentation in 3D space. Our approach first use CNN-based detection network to obtain the 2D object proposals which can be used to establish the local target map. We then use the results estimated from SLAM to update the dynamic global target map based on the local target map obtained by CNNs. Finally, we are able to obtain the detection result for the current frame by projecting the global target map into 2D space. On the other hand, we send the estimation results back to SLAM and update the semantic surfel model in SLAM system. Therefore, we can acquire the segmentation result by projecting the updated 3D surfel model into 2D. Our fusion scheme privileges in object detection and segmentation by integrating with SLAM system to preserve the spatial continuity and temporal consistency. Evaluation performances on four datasets demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of our method.}
    }

  • X. Zuo, P. Geneva, Y. Yang, W. Ye, Y. Liu, and G. Huang, “Visual-Inertial Localization With Prior LiDAR Map Constraints," IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, vol. 4, p. 3394–3401, 2019.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this letter, we develop a low-cost stereo visual-inertial localization system, which leverages efficient multi-state constraint Kalman filter (MSCKF)-based visual-inertial odometry (VIO) while utilizing an a priori LiDAR map to provide bounded-error three-dimensional navigation. Besides the standard sparse visual feature measurements used in VIO, the global registrations of visual semi-dense clouds to the prior LiDAR map are also exploited in a tightly-coupled MSCKF update, thus correcting accumulated drift. This cross-modality constraint between visual and LiDAR pointclouds is particularly addressed. The proposed approach is validated on both Monte Carlo simulations and real-world experiments, showing that LiDAR map constraints between clouds created through different sensing modalities greatly improve the standard VIO and provide bounded-error performance.

    @article{zuo2019visualinertiallw,
    title = {Visual-Inertial Localization With Prior LiDAR Map Constraints},
    author = {Xingxing Zuo and Patrick Geneva and Yulin Yang and Wenlong Ye and Yong Liu and Guoquan Huang},
    year = 2019,
    journal = {IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters},
    volume = 4,
    pages = {3394--3401},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/LRA.2019.2927123},
    abstract = {In this letter, we develop a low-cost stereo visual-inertial localization system, which leverages efficient multi-state constraint Kalman filter (MSCKF)-based visual-inertial odometry (VIO) while utilizing an a priori LiDAR map to provide bounded-error three-dimensional navigation. Besides the standard sparse visual feature measurements used in VIO, the global registrations of visual semi-dense clouds to the prior LiDAR map are also exploited in a tightly-coupled MSCKF update, thus correcting accumulated drift. This cross-modality constraint between visual and LiDAR pointclouds is particularly addressed. The proposed approach is validated on both Monte Carlo simulations and real-world experiments, showing that LiDAR map constraints between clouds created through different sensing modalities greatly improve the standard VIO and provide bounded-error performance.}
    }

2018

  • Y. Liu and L. Liu, “Accurate real-time ball trajectory estimation with onboard stereo camera system for humanoid ping-pong robot," Robotics and Autonomous Systems, vol. 101, p. 34–44, 2018.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this paper, an accurate real-time ball trajectory estimation approach working on the onboard stereo camera system for the humanoid ping-pong robot has been presented. As the asynchronous observations from different cameras will great reduce the accuracy of the trajectory estimation, the proposed approach will main focus on increasing the estimation accuracy under those asynchronous observations via concerning the flying ball’s motion consistency. The approximate polynomial trajectory model for the flying ball is built to optimize the best parameters from the asynchronous observations in each discrete temporal interval. The experiments show the proposed approach can performance much better than the method that ignores the asynchrony and can achieve the similar performance as the hardware-triggered synchronizing based method, which cannot be deployed in the real onboard vision system due to the limited bandwidth and real-time output requirement.

    @article{liu2018accuraterb,
    title = {Accurate real-time ball trajectory estimation with onboard stereo camera system for humanoid ping-pong robot},
    author = {Yong Liu and Liang Liu},
    year = 2018,
    journal = {Robotics and Autonomous Systems},
    volume = 101,
    pages = {34--44},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/j.robot.2017.12.004},
    abstract = {In this paper, an accurate real-time ball trajectory estimation approach working on the onboard stereo camera system for the humanoid ping-pong robot has been presented. As the asynchronous observations from different cameras will great reduce the accuracy of the trajectory estimation, the proposed approach will main focus on increasing the estimation accuracy under those asynchronous observations via concerning the flying ball’s motion consistency. The approximate polynomial trajectory model for the flying ball is built to optimize the best parameters from the asynchronous observations in each discrete temporal interval. The experiments show the proposed approach can performance much better than the method that ignores the asynchrony and can achieve the similar performance as the hardware-triggered synchronizing based method, which cannot be deployed in the real onboard vision system due to the limited bandwidth and real-time output requirement.}
    }

  • J. Ri, L. Liu, Y. Liu, H. Wu, W. Huang, and H. Kim, “Optimal Weighted Extreme Learning Machine for Imbalanced Learning with Differential Evolution [Research Frontier]," IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine, vol. 13, p. 32–47, 2018.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this paper, we present a formal model for the optimal weighted extreme learning machine (ELM) on imbalanced learning. Our model regards the optimal weighted ELM as an optimization problem to find the best weight matrix. We propose an approximate search algorithm, named weighted ELM with differential evolution (DE), that is a competitive stochastic search technique, to solve the optimization problem of the proposed formal imbalanced learning model. We perform experiments on standard imbalanced classification datasets which consist of 39 binary datasets and 3 multiclass datasets. The results show a significant performance improvement over standard ELM with an average Gmean improvement of 10.15% on binary datasets and 1.48% on multiclass datasets, which are also better than other state-of-the-art methods. We also demonstrate that our proposed algorithm can achieve high accuracy in representation learning by performing experiments on MNIST, CIFAR-10, and YouTube-8M, with feature representation from convolutional neural networks.

    @article{ri2018optimalwe,
    title = {Optimal Weighted Extreme Learning Machine for Imbalanced Learning with Differential Evolution [Research Frontier]},
    author = {JongHyok Ri and Liang Liu and Yong Liu and Huifeng Wu and Wenliang Huang and Hun Kim},
    year = 2018,
    journal = {IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine},
    volume = 13,
    pages = {32--47},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/MCI.2018.2840707},
    abstract = {In this paper, we present a formal model for the optimal weighted extreme learning machine (ELM) on imbalanced learning. Our model regards the optimal weighted ELM as an optimization problem to find the best weight matrix. We propose an approximate search algorithm, named weighted ELM with differential evolution (DE), that is a competitive stochastic search technique, to solve the optimization problem of the proposed formal imbalanced learning model. We perform experiments on standard imbalanced classification datasets which consist of 39 binary datasets and 3 multiclass datasets. The results show a significant performance improvement over standard ELM with an average Gmean improvement of 10.15% on binary datasets and 1.48% on multiclass datasets, which are also better than other state-of-the-art methods. We also demonstrate that our proposed algorithm can achieve high accuracy in representation learning by performing experiments on MNIST, CIFAR-10, and YouTube-8M, with feature representation from convolutional neural networks.}
    }

  • M. Wang, Y. Liu, D. Su, Y. Liao, L. Shi, J. Xu, and J. V. Miro, “Accurate and Real-Time 3-D Tracking for the Following Robots by Fusing Vision and Ultrasonar Information," IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, vol. 23, p. 997–1006, 2018.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Acquiring the accurate three-dimensional (3-D) position of a target person around a robot provides valuable information that is applicable to a wide range of robotic tasks, especially for promoting the intelligent manufacturing processes of industries. This paper presents a real-time robotic 3-D human tracking system that combines a monocular camera with an ultrasonic sensor by an extended Kalman filter (EKF). The proposed system consists of three submodules: a monocular camera sensor tracking module, an ultrasonic sensor tracking module, and the multisensor fusion algorithm. An improved visual tracking algorithm is presented to provide 2-D partial location estimation. The algorithm is designed to overcome severe occlusions, scale variation, target missing, and achieve robust redetection. The scale accuracy is further enhanced by the estimated 3-D information. An ultrasonic sensor array is employed to provide the range information from the target person to the robot, and time of flight is used for the 2-D partial location estimation. EKF is adopted to sequentially process multiple, heterogeneous measurements arriving in an asynchronous order from the vision sensor, and the ultrasonic sensor separately. In the experiments, the proposed tracking system is tested in both a simulation platform and actual mobile robot for various indoor and outdoor scenes. The experimental results show the persuasive performance of the 3-D tracking system in terms of both the accuracy and robustness.

    @article{wang2018accuratear,
    title = {Accurate and Real-Time 3-D Tracking for the Following Robots by Fusing Vision and Ultrasonar Information},
    author = {Mengmeng Wang and Yong Liu and Daobilige Su and Yufan Liao and Lei Shi and Jinhong Xu and Jaime Valls Miro},
    year = 2018,
    journal = {IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics},
    volume = 23,
    pages = {997--1006},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/TMECH.2018.2820172},
    abstract = {Acquiring the accurate three-dimensional (3-D) position of a target person around a robot provides valuable information that is applicable to a wide range of robotic tasks, especially for promoting the intelligent manufacturing processes of industries. This paper presents a real-time robotic 3-D human tracking system that combines a monocular camera with an ultrasonic sensor by an extended Kalman filter (EKF). The proposed system consists of three submodules: a monocular camera sensor tracking module, an ultrasonic sensor tracking module, and the multisensor fusion algorithm. An improved visual tracking algorithm is presented to provide 2-D partial location estimation. The algorithm is designed to overcome severe occlusions, scale variation, target missing, and achieve robust redetection. The scale accuracy is further enhanced by the estimated 3-D information. An ultrasonic sensor array is employed to provide the range information from the target person to the robot, and time of flight is used for the 2-D partial location estimation. EKF is adopted to sequentially process multiple, heterogeneous measurements arriving in an asynchronous order from the vision sensor, and the ultrasonic sensor separately. In the experiments, the proposed tracking system is tested in both a simulation platform and actual mobile robot for various indoor and outdoor scenes. The experimental results show the persuasive performance of the 3-D tracking system in terms of both the accuracy and robustness.}
    }

2017

  • Y. Liao, Y. Wang, and Y. Liu, “Graph Regularized Auto-Encoders for Image Representation," IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, vol. 26, p. 2839–2852, 2017.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Image representation has been intensively explored in the domain of computer vision for its significant influence on the relative tasks such as image clustering and classification. It is valuable to learn a low-dimensional representation of an image which preserves its inherent information from the original image space. At the perspective of manifold learning, this is implemented with the local invariant idea to capture the intrinsic low-dimensional manifold embedded in the high-dimensional input space. Inspired by the recent successes of deep architectures, we propose a local invariant deep nonlinear mapping algorithm, called graph regularized auto-encoder (GAE). With the graph regularization, the proposed method preserves the local connectivity from the original image space to the representation space, while the stacked auto-encoders provide explicit encoding model for fast inference and powerful expressive capacity for complex modeling. Theoretical analysis shows that the graph regularizer penalizes the weighted Frobenius norm of the Jacobian matrix of the encoder mapping, where the weight matrix captures the local property in the input space. Furthermore, the underlying effects on the hidden representation space are revealed, providing insightful explanation to the advantage of the proposed method. Finally, the experimental results on both clustering and classification tasks demonstrate the effectiveness of our GAE as well as the correctness of the proposed theoretical analysis, and it also suggests that GAE is a superior solution to the current deep representation learning techniques comparing with variant auto-encoders and existing local invariant methods.

    @article{liao2017graphra,
    title = {Graph Regularized Auto-Encoders for Image Representation},
    author = {Yiyi Liao and Yue Wang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2017,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Image Processing},
    volume = 26,
    pages = {2839--2852},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/TIP.2016.2605010},
    abstract = {Image representation has been intensively explored in the domain of computer vision for its significant influence on the relative tasks such as image clustering and classification. It is valuable to learn a low-dimensional representation of an image which preserves its inherent information from the original image space. At the perspective of manifold learning, this is implemented with the local invariant idea to capture the intrinsic low-dimensional manifold embedded in the high-dimensional input space. Inspired by the recent successes of deep architectures, we propose a local invariant deep nonlinear mapping algorithm, called graph regularized auto-encoder (GAE). With the graph regularization, the proposed method preserves the local connectivity from the original image space to the representation space, while the stacked auto-encoders provide explicit encoding model for fast inference and powerful expressive capacity for complex modeling. Theoretical analysis shows that the graph regularizer penalizes the weighted Frobenius norm of the Jacobian matrix of the encoder mapping, where the weight matrix captures the local property in the input space. Furthermore, the underlying effects on the hidden representation space are revealed, providing insightful explanation to the advantage of the proposed method. Finally, the experimental results on both clustering and classification tasks demonstrate the effectiveness of our GAE as well as the correctness of the proposed theoretical analysis, and it also suggests that GAE is a superior solution to the current deep representation learning techniques comparing with variant auto-encoders and existing local invariant methods.}
    }

  • Y. Wang, Y. Liu, Y. Liao, and R. Xiong, “Scalable Learning Framework for Traversable Region Detection Fusing With Appearance and Geometrical Information," IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, vol. 18, p. 3267–3281, 2017.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this paper, we present an online learning framework for traversable region detection fusing both appearance and geometry information. Our framework proposes an appearance classifier supervised by the sparse geometric clues to capture the variation in online data, yielding dense detection result in real time. It provides superior detection performance using appearance information with weak geometric prior and can be further improved with more geometry from external sensors. The learning process is divided into three steps: First, we construct features from the super-pixel level, which reduces the computational cost compared with the pixel level processing. Then we classify the multi-scale super-pixels to vote the label of each pixel. Second, we use weighted extreme learning machine as our classifier to deal with the imbalanced data distribution since the weak geometric prior only initializes the labels in a small region. Finally, we employ the online learning process so that our framework can be adaptive to the changing scenes. Experimental results on three different styles of image sequences, i.e., shadow road, rain sequence, and variational sequence, demonstrate the adaptability, stability, and parameter insensitivity of our weak geometry motivated method. We further demonstrate the performance of learning framework on additional five challenging data sets captured by Kinect V2 and stereo camera, validating the method’s effectiveness and efficiency.

    @article{wang2017scalablelf,
    title = {Scalable Learning Framework for Traversable Region Detection Fusing With Appearance and Geometrical Information},
    author = {Yue Wang and Yong Liu and Yiyi Liao and Rong Xiong},
    year = 2017,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems},
    volume = 18,
    pages = {3267--3281},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/TITS.2017.2682218},
    abstract = {In this paper, we present an online learning framework for traversable region detection fusing both appearance and geometry information. Our framework proposes an appearance classifier supervised by the sparse geometric clues to capture the variation in online data, yielding dense detection result in real time. It provides superior detection performance using appearance information with weak geometric prior and can be further improved with more geometry from external sensors. The learning process is divided into three steps: First, we construct features from the super-pixel level, which reduces the computational cost compared with the pixel level processing. Then we classify the multi-scale super-pixels to vote the label of each pixel. Second, we use weighted extreme learning machine as our classifier to deal with the imbalanced data distribution since the weak geometric prior only initializes the labels in a small region. Finally, we employ the online learning process so that our framework can be adaptive to the changing scenes. Experimental results on three different styles of image sequences, i.e., shadow road, rain sequence, and variational sequence, demonstrate the adaptability, stability, and parameter insensitivity of our weak geometry motivated method. We further demonstrate the performance of learning framework on additional five challenging data sets captured by Kinect V2 and stereo camera, validating the method’s effectiveness and efficiency.}
    }

  • J. Fan, Y. Jiang, and Y. Liu, “Quick attribute reduction with generalized indiscernibility models," Information Sciences, vol. 397, p. 15–36, 2017.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    We present a generalized indiscernibility reduction model(GIRM) and a concept of the granular structure in GIRM.We prove that GIRM is compatible with three typical reduction models.We present a generalized attribute reduction algorithm and a generalized positive region computing algorithm based on GIRM.We present acceleration policies on two generalized algorithms and fast positive region computing approaches for three typical reduction models. The efficiency of attribute reduction is one of the important challenges being faced in the field of Big Data processing. Although many quick attribute reduction algorithms have been proposed, they are tightly coupled with their corresponding indiscernibility relations, and it is difficult to extend specific acceleration policies to other reduction models. In this paper, we propose a generalized indiscernibility reduction model(GIRM) and a concept of the granular structure in GIRM, which is a quantitative measurement induced from multiple indiscernibility relations and which can be used to represent the computation cost of varied models. Then, we prove that our GIRM is compatible with three typical reduction models. Based on the proposed GIRM, we present a generalized attribute reduction algorithm and a generalized positive region computing algorithm. We perform a quantitative analysis of the computation complexities of two algorithms using the granular structure. For the generalized attribute reduction, we present systematic acceleration policies that can reduce the computational domain and optimize the computation of the positive region. Based on the granular structure, we propose acceleration policies for the computation of the generalized positive region, and we also propose fast positive region computation approaches for three typical reduction models. Experimental results for various datasets prove the efficiency of our acceleration policies in those three typical reduction models.

    @article{jing2017quickar,
    title = {Quick attribute reduction with generalized indiscernibility models},
    author = {Jing Fan and YunLiang Jiang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2017,
    journal = {Information Sciences},
    volume = 397,
    pages = {15--36},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/J.INS.2017.02.032},
    abstract = {We present a generalized indiscernibility reduction model(GIRM) and a concept of the granular structure in GIRM.We prove that GIRM is compatible with three typical reduction models.We present a generalized attribute reduction algorithm and a generalized positive region computing algorithm based on GIRM.We present acceleration policies on two generalized algorithms and fast positive region computing approaches for three typical reduction models. The efficiency of attribute reduction is one of the important challenges being faced in the field of Big Data processing. Although many quick attribute reduction algorithms have been proposed, they are tightly coupled with their corresponding indiscernibility relations, and it is difficult to extend specific acceleration policies to other reduction models. In this paper, we propose a generalized indiscernibility reduction model(GIRM) and a concept of the granular structure in GIRM, which is a quantitative measurement induced from multiple indiscernibility relations and which can be used to represent the computation cost of varied models. Then, we prove that our GIRM is compatible with three typical reduction models. Based on the proposed GIRM, we present a generalized attribute reduction algorithm and a generalized positive region computing algorithm. We perform a quantitative analysis of the computation complexities of two algorithms using the granular structure. For the generalized attribute reduction, we present systematic acceleration policies that can reduce the computational domain and optimize the computation of the positive region. Based on the granular structure, we propose acceleration policies for the computation of the generalized positive region, and we also propose fast positive region computation approaches for three typical reduction models. Experimental results for various datasets prove the efficiency of our acceleration policies in those three typical reduction models.}
    }

  • Y. Liao, S. Kodagoda, Y. Wang, L. Shi, and Y. Liu, “Place Classification With a Graph Regularized Deep Neural Network," IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems, vol. 9, p. 304–315, 2017.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Place classification is a fundamental ability that a robot should possess to carry out effective human-robot interactions. In recent years, there is a high exploitation of artificial intelligence algorithms in robotics applications. Inspired by the recent successes of deep learning methods, we propose an end-to-end learning approach for the place classification problem. With deep architectures, this methodology automatically discovers features and contributes in general to higher classification accuracies. The pipeline of our approach is composed of three parts. First, we construct multiple layers of laser range data to represent the environment information in different levels of granularity. Second, each layer of data are fed into a deep neural network for classification, where a graph regularization is imposed to the deep architecture for keeping local consistency between adjacent samples. Finally, the predicted labels obtained from all layers are fused based on confidence trees to maximize the overall confidence. Experimental results validate the effectiveness of our end-to-end place classification framework in which both the multilayer structure and the graph regularization promote the classification performance. Furthermore, results show that the features automatically learned from the raw input range data can achieve competitive results to the features constructed based on statistical and geometrical information.

    @article{liao2017placecw,
    title = {Place Classification With a Graph Regularized Deep Neural Network},
    author = {Yiyi Liao and Sarath Kodagoda and Yue Wang and Lei Shi and Yong Liu},
    year = 2017,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems},
    volume = 9,
    pages = {304--315},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/TCDS.2016.2586183},
    abstract = {Place classification is a fundamental ability that a robot should possess to carry out effective human-robot interactions. In recent years, there is a high exploitation of artificial intelligence algorithms in robotics applications. Inspired by the recent successes of deep learning methods, we propose an end-to-end learning approach for the place classification problem. With deep architectures, this methodology automatically discovers features and contributes in general to higher classification accuracies. The pipeline of our approach is composed of three parts. First, we construct multiple layers of laser range data to represent the environment information in different levels of granularity. Second, each layer of data are fed into a deep neural network for classification, where a graph regularization is imposed to the deep architecture for keeping local consistency between adjacent samples. Finally, the predicted labels obtained from all layers are fused based on confidence trees to maximize the overall confidence. Experimental results validate the effectiveness of our end-to-end place classification framework in which both the multilayer structure and the graph regularization promote the classification performance. Furthermore, results show that the features automatically learned from the raw input range data can achieve competitive results to the features constructed based on statistical and geometrical information.}
    }

2016

  • Y. Liu, R. Xiong, Y. Wang, H. Huang, X. Xie, X. Liu, and G. Zhang, “Stereo Visual-Inertial Odometry With Multiple Kalman Filters Ensemble," IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, vol. 63, p. 6205–6216, 2016.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this paper, we present a stereo visual-inertial odometry algorithm assembled with three separated Kalman filters, i.e., attitude filter, orientation filter, and position filter. Our algorithm carries out the orientation and position estimation with three filters working on different fusion intervals, which can provide more robustness even when the visual odometry estimation fails. In our orientation estimation, we propose an improved indirect Kalman filter, which uses the orientation error space represented by unit quaternion as the state of the filter. The performance of the algorithm is demonstrated through extensive experimental results, including the benchmark KITTI datasets and some challenging datasets captured in a rough terrain campus.

    @article{liu2016stereovo,
    title = {Stereo Visual-Inertial Odometry With Multiple Kalman Filters Ensemble},
    author = {Yong Liu and Rong Xiong and Yue Wang and Hong Huang and Xiaojia Xie and Xiaofeng Liu and Gaoming Zhang},
    year = 2016,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics},
    volume = 63,
    pages = {6205--6216},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/TIE.2016.2573765},
    abstract = {In this paper, we present a stereo visual-inertial odometry algorithm assembled with three separated Kalman filters, i.e., attitude filter, orientation filter, and position filter. Our algorithm carries out the orientation and position estimation with three filters working on different fusion intervals, which can provide more robustness even when the visual odometry estimation fails. In our orientation estimation, we propose an improved indirect Kalman filter, which uses the orientation error space represented by unit quaternion as the state of the filter. The performance of the algorithm is demonstrated through extensive experimental results, including the benchmark KITTI datasets and some challenging datasets captured in a rough terrain campus.}
    }

  • Y. Liu, Y. Liao, L. Tang, F. Tang, and W. Liu, “General subspace constrained non-negative matrix factorization for data representation," Neurocomputing, vol. 173, p. 224–232, 2016.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Nonnegative matrix factorization (NMF) has been proved to be a powerful data representation method, and has shown success in applications such as data representation and document clustering. However, the non-negative constraint alone is not able to capture the underlying properties of the data. In this paper, we present a framework to enforce general subspace constraints into NMF by augmenting the original objective function with two additional terms. One on constraints of the basis, the other on preserving the structural properties of the original data. This framework is general as it can be used to regularize NMF with a wide variety of subspace constraints that can be formulated into a certain form such as PCA, Fisher LDA and LPP. In addition, we present an iterative optimization algorithm to solve the general subspace constrained non-negative matrix factorization (GSC NMF). We show that the resulting subspace has enriched representation power as shown in our experiments.

    @article{liu2016generalsc,
    title = {General subspace constrained non-negative matrix factorization for data representation},
    author = {Yong Liu and Yiyi Liao and Liang Tang and Feng Tang and Weicong Liu},
    year = 2016,
    journal = {Neurocomputing},
    volume = 173,
    pages = {224--232},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neucom.2014.11.099},
    abstract = {Nonnegative matrix factorization (NMF) has been proved to be a powerful data representation method, and has shown success in applications such as data representation and document clustering. However, the non-negative constraint alone is not able to capture the underlying properties of the data. In this paper, we present a framework to enforce general subspace constraints into NMF by augmenting the original objective function with two additional terms. One on constraints of the basis, the other on preserving the structural properties of the original data. This framework is general as it can be used to regularize NMF with a wide variety of subspace constraints that can be formulated into a certain form such as PCA, Fisher LDA and LPP. In addition, we present an iterative optimization algorithm to solve the general subspace constrained non-negative matrix factorization (GSC NMF). We show that the resulting subspace has enriched representation power as shown in our experiments.}
    }

  • H. Zhao, Y. Liu, X. Xie, Y. Liao, and X. Liu, “Filtering Based Adaptive Visual Odometry Sensor Framework Robust to Blurred Images," Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), vol. 16, p. 1040, 2016.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Visual odometry (VO) estimation from blurred image is a challenging problem in practical robot applications, and the blurred images will severely reduce the estimation accuracy of the VO. In this paper, we address the problem of visual odometry estimation from blurred images, and present an adaptive visual odometry estimation framework robust to blurred images. Our approach employs an objective measure of images, named small image gradient distribution (SIGD), to evaluate the blurring degree of the image, then an adaptive blurred image classification algorithm is proposed to recognize the blurred images, finally we propose an anti-blurred key-frame selection algorithm to enable the VO robust to blurred images. We also carried out varied comparable experiments to evaluate the performance of the VO algorithms with our anti-blur framework under varied blurred images, and the experimental results show that our approach can achieve superior performance comparing to the state-of-the-art methods under the condition with blurred images while not increasing too much computation cost to the original VO algorithms.

    @article{zhao2016filteringba,
    title = {Filtering Based Adaptive Visual Odometry Sensor Framework Robust to Blurred Images},
    author = {Haiyin Zhao and Yong Liu and Xiaojia Xie and Yiyi Liao and Xixi Liu},
    year = 2016,
    journal = {Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)},
    volume = 16,
    pages = 1040,
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.3390/s16071040},
    abstract = {Visual odometry (VO) estimation from blurred image is a challenging problem in practical robot applications, and the blurred images will severely reduce the estimation accuracy of the VO. In this paper, we address the problem of visual odometry estimation from blurred images, and present an adaptive visual odometry estimation framework robust to blurred images. Our approach employs an objective measure of images, named small image gradient distribution (SIGD), to evaluate the blurring degree of the image, then an adaptive blurred image classification algorithm is proposed to recognize the blurred images, finally we propose an anti-blurred key-frame selection algorithm to enable the VO robust to blurred images. We also carried out varied comparable experiments to evaluate the performance of the VO algorithms with our anti-blur framework under varied blurred images, and the experimental results show that our approach can achieve superior performance comparing to the state-of-the-art methods under the condition with blurred images while not increasing too much computation cost to the original VO algorithms.}
    }

2015

  • Y. Liu, F. Tang, and Z. Zeng, “Feature Selection Based on Dependency Margin," IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, vol. 45, p. 1209–1221, 2015.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Feature selection tries to find a subset of feature from a larger feature pool and the selected subset can provide the same or even better performance compared with using the whole set. Feature selection is usually a critical preprocessing step for many machine-learning applications such as clustering and classification. In this paper, we focus on feature selection for supervised classification which targets at finding features that can best predict class labels. Traditional greedy search algorithms incrementally find features based on the relevance of candidate features and the class label. However, this may lead to suboptimal results when there are redundant features that may interfere with the selection. To solve this problem, we propose a subset selection algorithm that considers both the selected and remaining features’ relevances with the label. The intuition is that features, which do not have better alternatives from the feature set, should be selected first. We formulate the selection problem as maximizing the dependency margin which is measured by the difference between the selected feature set performance and the remaining feature set performance. Extensive experiments on various data sets show the superiority of the proposed approach against traditional algorithms.

    @article{liu2015featuresb,
    title = {Feature Selection Based on Dependency Margin},
    author = {Yong Liu and Feng Tang and Zhiyong Zeng},
    year = 2015,
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics},
    volume = 45,
    pages = {1209--1221},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/TCYB.2014.2347372},
    abstract = {Feature selection tries to find a subset of feature from a larger feature pool and the selected subset can provide the same or even better performance compared with using the whole set. Feature selection is usually a critical preprocessing step for many machine-learning applications such as clustering and classification. In this paper, we focus on feature selection for supervised classification which targets at finding features that can best predict class labels. Traditional greedy search algorithms incrementally find features based on the relevance of candidate features and the class label. However, this may lead to suboptimal results when there are redundant features that may interfere with the selection. To solve this problem, we propose a subset selection algorithm that considers both the selected and remaining features' relevances with the label. The intuition is that features, which do not have better alternatives from the feature set, should be selected first. We formulate the selection problem as maximizing the dependency margin which is measured by the difference between the selected feature set performance and the remaining feature set performance. Extensive experiments on various data sets show the superiority of the proposed approach against traditional algorithms.}
    }

  • Y. Jiang, Y. Shen, Y. Liu, and W. Liu, “Multiclass AdaBoost ELM and Its Application in LBP Based Face Recognition," Mathematical Problems in Engineering, vol. 2015, p. 918105, 2015.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Extreme learning machine (ELM) is a competitive machine learning technique, which is simple in theory and fast in implementation; it can identify faults quickly and precisely as compared with traditional identification techniques such as support vector machines (SVM). As verified by the simulation results, ELM tends to have better scalability and can achieve much better generalization performance and much faster learning speed compared with traditional SVM. In this paper, we introduce a multiclass AdaBoost based ELM ensemble method. In our approach, the ELM algorithm is selected as the basic ensemble predictor due to its rapid speed and good performance. Compared with the existing boosting ELM algorithm, our algorithm can be directly used in multiclass classification problem. We also carried out comparable experiments with face recognition datasets. The experimental results show that the proposed algorithm can not only make the predicting result more stable, but also achieve better generalization performance.

    @article{jiang2015multiclassae,
    title = {Multiclass AdaBoost ELM and Its Application in LBP Based Face Recognition},
    author = {Yunliang Jiang and Yefeng Shen and Yong Liu and Weicong Liu},
    year = 2015,
    journal = {Mathematical Problems in Engineering},
    volume = 2015,
    pages = 918105,
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1155/2015%2F918105},
    abstract = {Extreme learning machine (ELM) is a competitive machine learning technique, which is simple in theory and fast in implementation; it can identify faults quickly and precisely as compared with traditional identification techniques such as support vector machines (SVM). As verified by the simulation results, ELM tends to have better scalability and can achieve much better generalization performance and much faster learning speed compared with traditional SVM. In this paper, we introduce a multiclass AdaBoost based ELM ensemble method. In our approach, the ELM algorithm is selected as the basic ensemble predictor due to its rapid speed and good performance. Compared with the existing boosting ELM algorithm, our algorithm can be directly used in multiclass classification problem. We also carried out comparable experiments with face recognition datasets. The experimental results show that the proposed algorithm can not only make the predicting result more stable, but also achieve better generalization performance.}
    }

2014

  • Y. Jiang, Y. Liu, W. Huang, and L. Huang, “Performance analysis of a mobile agent prototype system based on VIRGO P2P protocols," Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience, vol. 26, p. 447–467, 2014.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    The mobile agent technique has been broadly used in next generation distributed systems. The system performance measurement and simulation are required before the system can be deployed on a large scale. In this paper, we address performance analysis on a finite state mobile agent prototype on the basis of Virtual Hierarchical Tree Grid Organizations (VIRGO). The finite states refer to the migration, execution, and searching of the mobile agent. We introduce a novel evaluation model for the finite state mobile agent. The experimental results based on this evaluation model show that the finite mobile agents can perform well under multiple agent conditions and are superior to the traditional client/server approach.

    @article{jiang2014performanceao,
    title = {Performance analysis of a mobile agent prototype system based on VIRGO P2P protocols},
    author = {Yunliang Jiang and Yong Liu and Wenliang Huang and Lican Huang},
    year = 2014,
    journal = {Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience},
    volume = 26,
    pages = {447--467},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1002/cpe.3006},
    abstract = {The mobile agent technique has been broadly used in next generation distributed systems. The system performance measurement and simulation are required before the system can be deployed on a large scale. In this paper, we address performance analysis on a finite state mobile agent prototype on the basis of Virtual Hierarchical Tree Grid Organizations (VIRGO). The finite states refer to the migration, execution, and searching of the mobile agent. We introduce a novel evaluation model for the finite state mobile agent. The experimental results based on this evaluation model show that the finite mobile agents can perform well under multiple agent conditions and are superior to the traditional client/server approach.}
    }

  • Y. Liu, X. Zheng, F. Tang, and X. Chen, “Ontology design with a granular approach," Expert Systems with Applications, vol. 41, p. 4867–4877, 2014.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Ontology design for complex applications is quite a challenge. The quality of an ontology is highly dependent upon the capabilities of designers, and the collaborative design process is hampered by the difficulty of balancing the viewpoints of different designers. In this paper, we present a granular view of ontology: ontologies are granular, ontologies are granular approximations of conceptualizations and conceptual-relation granules of an ontology are ordered tuples. We then propose a corresponding granular ontology design approach. In our granular ontology design approach, the unified granular cognition level and hierarchies of sub-concepts are initialized before ontological terms are designed in detail, which reduces the subjective effects of the capabilities of designers. Our approach also introduces the idea of optimization to choose an optimal subset, which can best approximate the real concept domain, from the knowledge rule set presented by different domain experts. The optimal subset is chosen on the basis of the principle of granular ontology knowledge structure.

    @article{liu2014ontologydw,
    title = {Ontology design with a granular approach},
    author = {Yong Liu and Xiaoling Zheng and Feng Tang and Xiaofei Chen},
    year = 2014,
    journal = {Expert Systems with Applications},
    volume = 41,
    pages = {4867--4877},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eswa.2014.02.019},
    abstract = {Ontology design for complex applications is quite a challenge. The quality of an ontology is highly dependent upon the capabilities of designers, and the collaborative design process is hampered by the difficulty of balancing the viewpoints of different designers. In this paper, we present a granular view of ontology: ontologies are granular, ontologies are granular approximations of conceptualizations and conceptual-relation granules of an ontology are ordered tuples. We then propose a corresponding granular ontology design approach. In our granular ontology design approach, the unified granular cognition level and hierarchies of sub-concepts are initialized before ontological terms are designed in detail, which reduces the subjective effects of the capabilities of designers. Our approach also introduces the idea of optimization to choose an optimal subset, which can best approximate the real concept domain, from the knowledge rule set presented by different domain experts. The optimal subset is chosen on the basis of the principle of granular ontology knowledge structure.}
    }

  • Y. Liu, W. Huang, Y. Jiang, and Z. Zeng, “Quick attribute reduct algorithm for neighborhood rough set model," Information Sciences, vol. 271, p. 65–81, 2014.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this paper, we propose an efficient quick attribute reduct algorithm based on neighborhood rough set model. In this algorithm we divide the objects (records) of the whole data set into a series of buckets based on their Euclidean distances, and then iterate each record by the sequence of buckets to calculate the positive region of neighborhood rough set model. We also prove that each record’s θ -neighborhood elements can only be contained in its own bucket and its adjacent buckets, thus it can reduce the iterations greatly. Based on the division of buckets, we then present a new fast algorithm to calculate the positive region of neighborhood rough set model, which can achieve a complexity of O ( m | U | ) , m is the number of attributes, | U | is the number of records containing in the data set. Furthermore, with the new fast positive region computation algorithm, we present a quick reduct algorithm for neighborhood rough set model, and our algorithm can achieve a complexity of O ( m 2 | U | ) . At last, the efficiency of this quick reduct algorithm is proved by comparable experiments, and especially this algorithm is more suitable for the reduction of big data.

    @article{liu2014quickar,
    title = {Quick attribute reduct algorithm for neighborhood rough set model},
    author = {Yong Liu and Wenliang Huang and YunLiang Jiang and Zhiyong Zeng},
    year = 2014,
    journal = {Information Sciences},
    volume = 271,
    pages = {65--81},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/J.INS.2014.02.093},
    abstract = {In this paper, we propose an efficient quick attribute reduct algorithm based on neighborhood rough set model. In this algorithm we divide the objects (records) of the whole data set into a series of buckets based on their Euclidean distances, and then iterate each record by the sequence of buckets to calculate the positive region of neighborhood rough set model. We also prove that each record’s θ -neighborhood elements can only be contained in its own bucket and its adjacent buckets, thus it can reduce the iterations greatly. Based on the division of buckets, we then present a new fast algorithm to calculate the positive region of neighborhood rough set model, which can achieve a complexity of O ( m | U | ) , m is the number of attributes, | U | is the number of records containing in the data set. Furthermore, with the new fast positive region computation algorithm, we present a quick reduct algorithm for neighborhood rough set model, and our algorithm can achieve a complexity of O ( m 2 | U | ) . At last, the efficiency of this quick reduct algorithm is proved by comparable experiments, and especially this algorithm is more suitable for the reduction of big data.}
    }

  • Y. Liu, R. Xiong, and Y. Li, “Robust and Accurate Multiple-Camera Pose Estimation toward Robotic Applications," International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, vol. 11, p. 153, 2014.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Pose estimation methods in robotics applications frequently suffer from inaccuracy due to a lack of correspondence and real-time constraints, and instability from a wide range of viewpoints, etc. In this paper, we present a novel approach for estimating the poses of all the cameras in a multi-camera system in which each camera is placed rigidly using only a few coplanar points simultaneously. Instead of solving the orientation and translation for the multi-camera system from the overlapping point correspondences among all the cameras directly, we employ homography, which can map image points with 3D coplanar-referenced points. In our method, we first establish the corresponding relations between each camera by their Euclidean geometries and optimize the homographies of the cameras; then, we solve the orientation and translation for the optimal homographies. The results from simulations and real case experiments show that our approach is accurate and robust for implementation in robotics applications. Finally, a practical implementation in a ping-pong robot is described in order to confirm the validity of our approach.

    @article{liu2014robustaa,
    title = {Robust and Accurate Multiple-Camera Pose Estimation toward Robotic Applications},
    author = {Yong Liu and Rong Xiong and Yi Li},
    year = 2014,
    journal = {International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems},
    volume = 11,
    pages = 153,
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.5772/58868},
    abstract = {Pose estimation methods in robotics applications frequently suffer from inaccuracy due to a lack of correspondence and real-time constraints, and instability from a wide range of viewpoints, etc. In this paper, we present a novel approach for estimating the poses of all the cameras in a multi-camera system in which each camera is placed rigidly using only a few coplanar points simultaneously. Instead of solving the orientation and translation for the multi-camera system from the overlapping point correspondences among all the cameras directly, we employ homography, which can map image points with 3D coplanar-referenced points. In our method, we first establish the corresponding relations between each camera by their Euclidean geometries and optimize the homographies of the cameras; then, we solve the orientation and translation for the optimal homographies. The results from simulations and real case experiments show that our approach is accurate and robust for implementation in robotics applications. Finally, a practical implementation in a ping-pong robot is described in order to confirm the validity of our approach.}
    }

2013

  • Y. Jiang, X. Zhang, L. Tang, W. Liu, J. Fan, and Y. Liu, “Multi-Robot Remote Interaction with FS-MAS," International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, vol. 10, p. 141, 2013.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    The need to reduce bandwidth, improve productivity, autonomy and the scalability in multi-robot teleoperation has been recognized for a long time. In this article we propose a novel finite state machine mobile agent based on the network interaction service model, namely FS-MAS. This model consists of three finite state machines, namely the Finite State Mobile Agent (FS-Agent), which is the basic service module. The Service Content Finite State Machine (Content-FS), using the XML language to define workflow, to describe service content and service computation process. The Mobile Agent computation model Finite State Machine (MACM-FS), used to describe the service implementation. Finally, we apply this service model to the multi-robot system, the initial realization completing complex tasks in the form of multi-robot scheduling. This demonstrates that the robot has greatly improved intelligence, and provides a wide solution space for critical issues such as task division, rational and efficient use of resource and multi-robot collaboration.

    @article{jiang2013multirobotri,
    title = {Multi-Robot Remote Interaction with FS-MAS},
    author = {Yunliang Jiang and Xiongtao Zhang and Liang Tang and Weicong Liu and Jing Fan and Yong Liu},
    year = 2013,
    journal = {International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems},
    volume = 10,
    pages = 141,
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.5772/54468},
    abstract = {The need to reduce bandwidth, improve productivity, autonomy and the scalability in multi-robot teleoperation has been recognized for a long time. In this article we propose a novel finite state machine mobile agent based on the network interaction service model, namely FS-MAS. This model consists of three finite state machines, namely the Finite State Mobile Agent (FS-Agent), which is the basic service module. The Service Content Finite State Machine (Content-FS), using the XML language to define workflow, to describe service content and service computation process. The Mobile Agent computation model Finite State Machine (MACM-FS), used to describe the service implementation. Finally, we apply this service model to the multi-robot system, the initial realization completing complex tasks in the form of multi-robot scheduling. This demonstrates that the robot has greatly improved intelligence, and provides a wide solution space for critical issues such as task division, rational and efficient use of resource and multi-robot collaboration.}
    }

  • Y. Jiang, Y. Xu, and Y. Liu, “Performance evaluation of feature detection and matching in stereo visual odometry," Neurocomputing, vol. 120, p. 380–390, 2013.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this paper, we try to evaluate which detector and descriptor may be the most appropriate solution in stereo visual odometry and whether there is any bias on calculation methods in visual odometry applications. We summarize the state of art feature detectors and descriptors in visual odometry field and divide them based on their implemented details. We present three new evaluation criterions (Detection Chain Repeatability, Average Detection Chain Re-projection Error and Matching Chain Precision) of feature detectors and descriptors. We also design experiments to evaluate the performance of different detectors and descriptors from the robustness, precision and cost of computation.

    @article{jiang2013performanceeo,
    title = {Performance evaluation of feature detection and matching in stereo visual odometry},
    author = {Yunliang Jiang and Yunxi Xu and Yong Liu},
    year = 2013,
    journal = {Neurocomputing},
    volume = 120,
    pages = {380--390},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neucom.2012.06.055},
    abstract = {In this paper, we try to evaluate which detector and descriptor may be the most appropriate solution in stereo visual odometry and whether there is any bias on calculation methods in visual odometry applications. We summarize the state of art feature detectors and descriptors in visual odometry field and divide them based on their implemented details. We present three new evaluation criterions (Detection Chain Repeatability, Average Detection Chain Re-projection Error and Matching Chain Precision) of feature detectors and descriptors. We also design experiments to evaluate the performance of different detectors and descriptors from the robustness, precision and cost of computation.}
    }

2012

  • Y. Liu, M. Zhang, F. Tang, Y. Jiang, Z. Pan, G. Liu, and H. Shen, “Constructing the virtual Jing-Hang Grand Canal with onto-draw," Expert Systems with Applications, vol. 39, p. 12071–12084, 2012.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Constructing virtual 3D historical scenes from literature and records is a very challenging problem due to the difficulty in incorporating different types of domain knowledge into the modeling system. The domain knowledge comes from different experts, including: architects, historians, rendering artists, user interface designers and computer engineers. In this paper we investigate the problem of automatically generating drawings of ancient scenes by ontologies extracted from these domains. We introduce a framework called onto-draw to generate semantic models of desired scenes by constructing hierarchical ontology concept domains. Inconsistencies among them are resolved via an iterative refinement algorithm. We implement the onto-draw based ontology design approach and inconsistency removal technique in the virtual Jing-Hang Grand Canal construction project (Chen et al., 2010) and achieve encouraging results.

    @article{liu2012constructingtv,
    title = {Constructing the virtual Jing-Hang Grand Canal with onto-draw},
    author = {Yong Liu and Minming Zhang and Feng Tang and Yunliang Jiang and Zhigeng Pan and Gengdai Liu and Huaqing Shen},
    year = 2012,
    journal = {Expert Systems with Applications},
    volume = 39,
    pages = {12071--12084},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eswa.2012.04.026},
    abstract = {Constructing virtual 3D historical scenes from literature and records is a very challenging problem due to the difficulty in incorporating different types of domain knowledge into the modeling system. The domain knowledge comes from different experts, including: architects, historians, rendering artists, user interface designers and computer engineers. In this paper we investigate the problem of automatically generating drawings of ancient scenes by ontologies extracted from these domains. We introduce a framework called onto-draw to generate semantic models of desired scenes by constructing hierarchical ontology concept domains. Inconsistencies among them are resolved via an iterative refinement algorithm. We implement the onto-draw based ontology design approach and inconsistency removal technique in the virtual Jing-Hang Grand Canal construction project (Chen et al., 2010) and achieve encouraging results.}
    }

  • Y. Liu, M. Zhang, Y. Jiang, and H. Zhao, “Improving procedural modeling with semantics in digital architectural heritage," Computers and Graphics, vol. 36, p. 178–184, 2012.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    We first introduce three challenges in the procedural modeling of digital architectural heritages and then present a general framework, which integrates several machine intelligence and semantic techniques, e.g., the ontology design approach, pattern mining, auto-annotating and rule reduction, to improve the procedural methods in architectural modeling. Several evaluations and experiments are also presented. The experimental results illustrate the improvements following our approach. & 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    @article{liu2012improvingpm,
    title = {Improving procedural modeling with semantics in digital architectural heritage},
    author = {Yong Liu and Mingmin Zhang and Yunliang Jiang and Haiying Zhao},
    year = 2012,
    journal = {Computers and Graphics},
    volume = 36,
    pages = {178--184},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cag.2012.01.003},
    abstract = {We first introduce three challenges in the procedural modeling of digital architectural heritages and then present a general framework, which integrates several machine intelligence and semantic techniques, e.g., the ontology design approach, pattern mining, auto-annotating and rule reduction, to improve the procedural methods in architectural modeling. Several evaluations and experiments are also presented. The experimental results illustrate the improvements following our approach. & 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.}
    }

2022

  • T. Huang, X. Yang, J. Zhang, J. Cui, H. Zou, J. C. and Xiangrui Zhao, and Y. Liu, “Learning to Train a Point Cloud Reconstruction Network Without Matching," in European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), 2022.
    [BibTeX]
    @inproceedings{huang2022ltt,
    title = {Learning to Train a Point Cloud Reconstruction Network Without Matching},
    author = {Tianxin Huang and Xuemeng Yang and Jiangning Zhang and Jinhao Cui and Hao Zou and Jun Chen and Xiangrui Zhao and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    booktitle = {European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV)}
    }

  • T. Huang, J. Zhang, J. C. and Yuang Liu, and Y. Liu, “Resolution-free Point Cloud Sampling Network with Data Distillation," in European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), 2022.
    [BibTeX]
    @inproceedings{huang2022rfp,
    title = {Resolution-free Point Cloud Sampling Network with Data Distillation},
    author = {Tianxin Huang and Jiangning Zhang and Jun Chen and Yuang Liu and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    booktitle = {European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV)}
    }

  • C. Xu, J. Zhang, Y. Han, and Y. Liu, “Designing One Unified framework for High-Fidelity Face Reenactment and Swapping," in European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), 2022.
    [BibTeX]
    @inproceedings{xu2022dou,
    title = {Designing One Unified framework for High-Fidelity Face Reenactment and Swapping},
    author = {Chao Xu and Jiangning Zhang and Yue Han and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    booktitle = {European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV)}
    }

  • X. Zhao, S. Yang, T. Huang, J. C. and Teng Ma, M. Li, and Y. Liu, “SuperLine3D:Self-supervised 3D Line Segmentation and Description for LiDAR Point Cloud," in European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), 2022.
    [BibTeX]
    @inproceedings{zhao2022sls,
    title = {SuperLine3D:Self-supervised 3D Line Segmentation and Description for LiDAR Point Cloud},
    author = {Xiangrui Zhao and Sheng Yang and Tianxin Huang and Jun Chen and Teng Ma and Mingyang Li and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    booktitle = {European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV)}
    }

  • Z. Li, M. wang, H. Pi, K. Xu, J. Mei, and Y. Liu, “E-NeRV: Expedite Neural Video Representation with Disentangled Spatial-Temporal Context," in European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), 2022.
    [BibTeX]
    @inproceedings{li2022ene,
    title = {E-NeRV: Expedite Neural Video Representation with Disentangled Spatial-Temporal Context},
    author = {Zizhang Li and Mengmeng wang and Huaijin Pi and Kechun Xu and Jianbiao Mei and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    booktitle = {European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV)}
    }

  • J. Huang, L. Li, X. Zhao, X. Lang, D. Zhu, and Y. Liu, “LODM: Large-scale Online Dense Mapping for UAV," in 2022 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [PDF]

    This paper proposes a method for online large-scale dense mapping. The UAV is within a range of 150-250 meters, combining GPS and visual odometry to estimate the scaled pose and sparse points. In order to use the depth of sparse points for depth map, we propose Sparse Confidence Cascade View-Aggregation MVSNet (SCCVA-MVSNet), which projects the depth-converged points in the sliding window on keyframes to obtain a sparse depth map. The photometric error constructs sparse confidence. The coarse depth and confidence through normalized convolution use the images of all keyframes, coarse depth, and confidence as the input of CVA-MVSNet to extract features and construct 3D cost volumes with adaptive view aggregation to balance the different stereo baselines between the keyframes. Our proposed network utilizes sparse features point information, the output of the network better maintains the consistency of the scale. Our experiments show that MVSNet using sparse feature point information outperforms image-only MVSNet, and our online reconstruction results are comparable to offline reconstruction methods. To benefit the research community, we open-source our code at https://github.com/hjxwhy/LODM.git

    @inproceedings{huang2022lls,
    title = {LODM: Large-scale Online Dense Mapping for UAV},
    author = {Jianxin Huang and Laijian Li and Xiangrui Zhao and Xiaolei Lang and Deye Zhu and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    booktitle = {2022 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
    abstract = {This paper proposes a method for online large-scale dense mapping. The UAV is within a range of 150-250 meters, combining GPS and visual odometry to estimate the scaled pose and sparse points. In order to use the depth of sparse points for depth map, we propose Sparse Confidence Cascade View-Aggregation MVSNet (SCCVA-MVSNet), which projects the depth-converged points in the sliding window on keyframes to obtain a sparse depth map. The photometric error constructs sparse confidence. The coarse depth and confidence through normalized convolution use the images of all keyframes, coarse depth, and confidence as the input of CVA-MVSNet to extract features and construct 3D cost volumes with adaptive view aggregation to balance the different stereo baselines between the keyframes. Our proposed network utilizes sparse features point information, the output of the network better maintains the consistency of the scale. Our experiments show that MVSNet using sparse feature point information outperforms image-only MVSNet, and our online reconstruction results are comparable to offline reconstruction methods. To benefit the research community, we open-source our code at https://github.com/hjxwhy/LODM.git}
    }

  • L. Li, X. Kong, X. Zhao, T. Huang, W. li, F. Wen, H. Zhang, and Y. Liu, “RINet: Efficient 3D Lidar-Based Place Recognition Using Rotation Invariant Neural Network," in 2022 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [PDF]

    LiDAR-based place recognition (LPR) is one of the basic capabilities of robots, which can retrieve scenes from maps and identify previously visited locations based on 3D point clouds. As robots often pass the same place from different views, LPR methods are supposed to be robust to rotation, which is lacking in most current learning-based approaches. In this letter, we propose a rotation invariant neural network structure that can detect reverse loop closures even training data is all in the same direction. Specifically, we design a novel rotation equivariant global descriptor, which combines semantic and geometric features to improve description ability. Then a rotation invariant siamese neural network is implemented to predict the similarity of descriptor pairs. Our network is lightweight and can operate more than 8000 FPS on an i7-9700 CPU. Exhaustive evaluations and robustness tests on the KITTI, KITTI-360, and NCLT datasets show that our approach can work stably in various scenarios and achieve state-of-the-art performance.

    @inproceedings{li2022rinet,
    title = {RINet: Efficient 3D Lidar-Based Place Recognition Using Rotation Invariant Neural Network},
    author = {Lin Li and Xin Kong and Xiangrui Zhao and Tianxin Huang and Wanlong li and Feng Wen and Hongbo Zhang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    booktitle = {2022 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation},
    abstract = {LiDAR-based place recognition (LPR) is one of the basic capabilities of robots, which can retrieve scenes from maps and identify previously visited locations based on 3D point clouds. As robots often pass the same place from different views, LPR methods are supposed to be robust to rotation, which is lacking in most current learning-based approaches. In this letter, we propose a rotation invariant neural network structure that can detect reverse loop closures even training data is all in the same direction. Specifically, we design a novel rotation equivariant global descriptor, which combines semantic and geometric features to improve description ability. Then a rotation invariant siamese neural network is implemented to predict the similarity of descriptor pairs. Our network is lightweight and can operate more than 8000 FPS on an i7-9700 CPU. Exhaustive evaluations and robustness tests on the KITTI, KITTI-360, and NCLT datasets show that our approach can work stably in various scenarios and achieve state-of-the-art performance.}
    }

  • C. Xu, J. Zhang, and M. H. H. Y. and Qian and Zili and Yong Liu, “Region-Aware Face Swapping," in 2022 IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    This paper presents a novel Region-Aware Face Swapping (RAFSwap) network to achieve identity-consistent harmonious high-resolution face generation in a local-global manner: 1) Local Facial Region-Aware (FRA) branch augments local identity-relevant features by introducing the Transformer to effectively model misaligned crossscale semantic interaction. 2) Global Source Feature Adaptive (SFA) branch further complements global identity relevant cues for generating identity-consistent swapped faces. Besides, we propose a Face Mask Predictor (FMP) module incorporated with StyleGAN2 to predict identity relevant soft facial masks in an unsupervised manner that is more practical for generating harmonious high-resolution faces. Abundant experiments qualitatively and quantita tively demonstrate the superiority of our method for generating more identity-consistent high-resolution swapped faces over SOTA methods, e.g., obtaining 96.70 ID retrieval that outperforms SOTA MegaFS by 5.87↑.

    @inproceedings{xu2022raf,
    title = {Region-Aware Face Swapping},
    author = {Chao Xu and Jiangning Zhang and Miao Hua and Qian He and Zili Yi and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    booktitle = {2022 IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
    doi = {10.48550/arXiv.2203.04564},
    abstract = {This paper presents a novel Region-Aware Face Swapping (RAFSwap) network to achieve identity-consistent harmonious high-resolution face generation in a local-global manner: 1) Local Facial Region-Aware (FRA) branch augments local identity-relevant features by introducing the Transformer to effectively model misaligned crossscale semantic interaction. 2) Global Source Feature Adaptive (SFA) branch further complements global identity relevant cues for generating identity-consistent swapped faces. Besides, we propose a Face Mask Predictor (FMP) module incorporated with StyleGAN2 to predict identity relevant soft facial masks in an unsupervised manner that is more practical for generating harmonious high-resolution faces. Abundant experiments qualitatively and quantita tively demonstrate the superiority of our method for generating more identity-consistent high-resolution swapped faces over SOTA methods, e.g., obtaining 96.70 ID retrieval that outperforms SOTA MegaFS by 5.87↑.}
    }

  • J. Zhang, C. Xu, J. Li, Y. Han, Y. Wang, Y. Tai, and Y. Liu, “SCSNet: An Efficient Paradigm for Learning Simultaneously Image Colorization and Super-Resolution," in Proceedings of the 36th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 2022.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In the practical application of restoring low-resolution grayscale images, we generally need to run three separate processes of image colorization, super-resolution, and dowssampling operation for the target device. However, this pipeline is redundant and inefficient for the independent processes, and some inner features could have been shared.Therefore, we present an efficient paradigm to perform Simultaneously Image Colorization and Super-resolution(SCS) and propose an end-to-end SCSNet to achieve this goal. The proposed method consists of two parts: colorization branch for learning color information that employs the proposed plug-and-play Pyramid Valve Cross Attention (PVCAttn) module to aggregate feature maps between source andreference images; and super-resolution branch for integrating color and texture information to predict target images, which uses the designed Continuous Pixel Mapping (CPM) module to predict high-resolution images at continuous magni-fication. Furthermore, our SCSNet supports both automatic and referential modes that is more flexible for practical application. Abundant experiments demonstrate the superiority of our method for generating authentic images over state-of-theart methods, e.g., averagely decreasing FID by 1.8↓ and 5.1↓ compared with current best scores for automatic and referential modes, respectively, while owning fewer parameters(more than ×2↓) and faster running speed (more than ×3↑).

    @inproceedings{zhang2022scs,
    title = {SCSNet: An Efficient Paradigm for Learning Simultaneously Image Colorization and Super-Resolution},
    author = {Jiangning Zhang and Chao Xu and Jian Li and Yue Han and Yabiao Wang and Ying Tai and Yong Liu},
    year = 2022,
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the 36th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2201.04364},
    abstract = {In the practical application of restoring low-resolution grayscale images, we generally need to run three separate processes of image colorization, super-resolution, and dowssampling operation for the target device. However, this pipeline is redundant and inefficient for the independent processes, and some inner features could have been shared.Therefore, we present an efficient paradigm to perform Simultaneously Image Colorization and Super-resolution(SCS) and propose an end-to-end SCSNet to achieve this goal. The proposed method consists of two parts: colorization branch for learning color information that employs the proposed plug-and-play Pyramid Valve Cross Attention (PVCAttn) module to aggregate feature maps between source andreference images; and super-resolution branch for integrating
    color and texture information to predict target images, which uses the designed Continuous Pixel Mapping (CPM) module to predict high-resolution images at continuous magni-fication. Furthermore, our SCSNet supports both automatic and referential modes that is more flexible for practical application. Abundant experiments demonstrate the superiority of our method for generating authentic images over state-of-theart methods, e.g., averagely decreasing FID by 1.8↓ and 5.1↓ compared with current best scores for automatic and referential modes, respectively, while owning fewer parameters(more than ×2↓) and faster running speed (more than ×3↑).}
    }

2021

  • Z. Chen, T. Huang, Z. Xue, Z. Zhu, J. Xu, and Y. Liu, “A Novel Unmanned Surface Vehicle with 2D-3D Fused Perception and Obstacle Avoidance Module," in 2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (ROBIO), 2021, pp. 1804-1809.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) are important intelligent equipment that can accomplish various tasks on open area marine. During operation, environmental perception and obstacle avoidance is of vital significance to its autonomy. In this paper, we propose a novel USV equipped with fused perception and obstacle avoidance module that contains robust perception, localization and effective obstacle avoidance strategy. The new module is named Three-Dimensional Perception Module (PMTD), which utilizes camera and LiDAR to integrate multi-dimensional environmental information. It is able to detect, identify and track target objects in the process of autonomous travel. The localization precision achieves a centimeter-level with GPS and IMU devices. Meanwhile, the obstacle avoidance strategy allows the USV to efficiently keep away from static and dynamic floating objects in water areas. Through real-world experiments, we show that with the help of the proposed module, the USV can complete stable and autonomous operation and obstacles avoidance path planning even without any manual intervention. This indicates the strong ability of the module in autonomous driving for USVs.

    @inproceedings{chen2021anu,
    title = {A Novel Unmanned Surface Vehicle with 2D-3D Fused Perception and Obstacle Avoidance Module},
    author = {Zhe Chen and Tao Huang and Zhenfeng Xue and Zongzhi Zhu and Jinhong Xu and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (ROBIO)},
    pages = {1804-1809},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ROBIO54168.2021.9739449},
    abstract = {Unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) are important intelligent equipment that can accomplish various tasks on open area marine. During operation, environmental perception and obstacle avoidance is of vital significance to its autonomy. In this paper, we propose a novel USV equipped with fused perception and obstacle avoidance module that contains robust perception, localization and effective obstacle avoidance strategy. The new module is named Three-Dimensional Perception Module (PMTD), which utilizes camera and LiDAR to integrate multi-dimensional environmental information. It is able to detect, identify and track target objects in the process of autonomous travel. The localization precision achieves a centimeter-level with GPS and IMU devices. Meanwhile, the obstacle avoidance strategy allows the USV to efficiently keep away from static and dynamic floating objects in water areas. Through real-world experiments, we show that with the help of the proposed module, the USV can complete stable and autonomous operation and obstacles avoidance path planning even without any manual intervention. This indicates the strong ability of the module in autonomous driving for USVs.}
    }

  • C. Tao, Z. Li, X. Zhu, G. Huang, Y. Liu, and J. Dai, “Searching Parameterized AP Loss for Object Detection," in Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 – 35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, 2021, pp. 22021-22033.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [PDF]

    Loss functions play an important role in training deep-network-based object detectors. The most widely used evaluation metric for object detection is Average Precision (AP), which captures the performance of localization and classification sub-tasks simultaneously. However, due to the non-differentiable nature of the AP metric, traditional object detectors adopt separate differentiable losses for the two sub-tasks. Such a mis-alignment issue may well lead to performance degradation. To address this, existing works seek to design surrogate losses for the AP metric manually, which requires expertise and may still be sub-optimal. In this paper, we propose Parameterized AP Loss, where parameterized functions are introduced to substitute the non-differentiable components in the AP calculation. Different AP approximations are thus represented by a family of parameterized functions in a uni-fied formula. Automatic parameter search algorithm is then employed to search for the optimal parameters. Extensive experiments on the COCO benchmark with three different object detectors (i.e., RetinaNet, Faster R-CNN, and Deformable DETR) demonstrate that the proposed Parameterized AP Loss consistently outperforms existing handcrafted losses. Code shall be released.

    @inproceedings{li2021spa,
    title = {Searching Parameterized AP Loss for Object Detection},
    author = {Chenxin Tao and Zizhang Li and Xizhou Zhu and Gao Huang and Yong Liu and Jifeng Dai},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 - 35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems},
    pages = {22021-22033},
    abstract = {Loss functions play an important role in training deep-network-based object detectors. The most widely used evaluation metric for object detection is Average Precision (AP), which captures the performance of localization and classification sub-tasks simultaneously. However, due to the non-differentiable nature of the AP metric, traditional object detectors adopt separate differentiable losses for the two sub-tasks. Such a mis-alignment issue may well lead to performance degradation. To address this, existing works seek to design surrogate losses for the AP metric manually, which requires expertise and may still be sub-optimal. In this paper, we propose Parameterized AP Loss, where parameterized functions are introduced to substitute the non-differentiable components in the AP calculation. Different AP approximations are thus represented by a family of parameterized functions in a uni-fied formula. Automatic parameter search algorithm is then employed to search for the optimal parameters. Extensive experiments on the COCO benchmark with three different object detectors (i.e., RetinaNet, Faster R-CNN, and Deformable DETR) demonstrate that the proposed Parameterized AP Loss consistently outperforms existing handcrafted losses. Code shall be released.}
    }

  • J. Zhang, C. Xu, J. Li, W. Chen, Y. Wang, Y. Tai, S. Chen, C. Wang, F. Huang, and Y. Liu, “Analogous to Evolutionary Algorithm: Designing a Unified Sequence Model," in Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 – 35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, 2021, pp. 26674-26688.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [PDF]

    Inspired by biological evolution, we explain the rationality of Vision Transformer by analogy with the proven practical Evolutionary Algorithm (EA) and derive that both of them have consistent mathematical representation. Analogous to the dynamic local population in EA, we improve the existing transformer structure and propose a more efficient EAT model, and design task-related heads to deal with different tasks more flexibly. Moreover, we introduce the spatial-filling curve into the current vision transformer to sequence image data into a uniform sequential format. Thus we can design a unified EAT framework to address multi-modal tasks, separating the network architecture from the data format adaptation. Our approach achieves state-of-the-art results on the ImageNet classification task compared with recent vision transformer works while having smaller parameters and greater throughput. We further conduct multi-modal tasks to demonstrate the superiority of the unified EAT, e.g., Text-Based Image Retrieval, and our approach improves the rank-1 by +3.7 points over the baseline on the CSS dataset.

    @inproceedings{zhang2021analogous,
    title = {Analogous to Evolutionary Algorithm: Designing a Unified Sequence Model},
    author = {Jiangning Zhang and Chao Xu and Jian Li and Wenzhou Chen and Yabiao Wang and Ying Tai and Shuo Chen and Chengjie Wang and Feiyue Huang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 - 35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems},
    pages = {26674-26688},
    abstract = {Inspired by biological evolution, we explain the rationality of Vision Transformer by analogy with the proven practical Evolutionary Algorithm (EA) and derive that both of them have consistent mathematical representation. Analogous to the dynamic local population in EA, we improve the existing transformer structure and propose a more efficient EAT model, and design task-related heads to deal with different tasks more flexibly. Moreover, we introduce the spatial-filling curve into the current vision transformer to sequence image data into a uniform sequential format. Thus we can design a unified EAT framework to address multi-modal tasks, separating the network architecture from the data format adaptation. Our approach achieves state-of-the-art results on the ImageNet classification task compared with recent vision transformer works while having smaller parameters and greater throughput. We further conduct multi-modal tasks to demonstrate the superiority of the unified EAT, e.g., Text-Based Image Retrieval, and our approach improves the rank-1 by +3.7 points over the baseline on the CSS dataset.}
    }

  • W. Liu, S. Liu, J. Yang, and Y. Liu, “Learning Intra-group Cooperation in Multi-agent Systems," in 2021 27th International Conference on Mechatronics and Machine Vision in Practice, 2021, pp. 688-692.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Reinforcement learning is one of the algorithms used in multi-agent systems to promote agent cooperation. However, most current multi-agent reinforcement learning algorithms improve the communication capabilities of agents for cooperation, but the overall communication is costly and even harmful due to bandwidth limitations. In addition, de-centralized execution cannot generate joint actions, which is not conducive to cooperation. Therefore, we proposed the Hierarchical Group Cooperation Network (HGCN). Advanced strategy, Group Network (GroNet), learns to group all agents based on their state rather than their location. The Low-level strategy, Group Cooperation Network (GCoNet), is a method of centralized training and centralized execution within a group, which effectively promotes agent collaboration. Finally, we validated our method in various experiments.

    @inproceedings{liu2021lig,
    title = {Learning Intra-group Cooperation in Multi-agent Systems},
    author = {Weiwei Liu and Shanqi Liu and Jian Yang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 27th International Conference on Mechatronics and Machine Vision in Practice},
    pages = {688-692},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/M2VIP49856.2021.9665049},
    abstract = {Reinforcement learning is one of the algorithms used in multi-agent systems to promote agent cooperation. However, most current multi-agent reinforcement learning algorithms improve the communication capabilities of agents for cooperation, but the overall communication is costly and even harmful due to bandwidth limitations. In addition, de-centralized execution cannot generate joint actions, which is not conducive to cooperation. Therefore, we proposed the Hierarchical Group Cooperation Network (HGCN). Advanced strategy, Group Network (GroNet), learns to group all agents based on their state rather than their location. The Low-level strategy, Group Cooperation Network (GCoNet), is a method of centralized training and centralized execution within a group, which effectively promotes agent collaboration. Finally, we validated our method in various experiments.}
    }

  • T. Huang, H. Zou, J. Cui, X. Yang, M. Wang, X. Zhao, J. Z. and Yi Yuan, Y. Xu, and Y. Liu, “RFNet: Recurrent Forward Network for Dense Point Cloud Completion," in 2021 International Conference on Computer Vision, 2021, pp. 12488-12497.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Point cloud completion is an interesting and challenging task in 3D vision, aiming to recover complete shapes from sparse and incomplete point clouds. Existing learning based methods often require vast computation cost to achieve excellent performance, which limits their practical applications. In this paper, we propose a novel Recurrent Forward Network (RFNet), which is composed of three modules: Recurrent Feature Extraction (RFE), Forward Dense Completion (FDC) and Raw Shape Protection (RSP). The RFE extracts multiple global features from the incomplete point clouds for different recurrent levels, and the FDC generates point clouds in a coarse-to-fine pipeline. The RSP introduces details from the original incomplete models to refine the completion results. Besides, we propose a Sampling Chamfer Distance to better capture the shapes of models and a new Balanced Expansion Constraint to restrict the expansion distances from coarse to fine. According to the experiments on ShapeNet and KITTI, our network can achieve the state-of-the-art with lower memory cost and faster convergence.

    @inproceedings{huang2021rfnetrf,
    title = {RFNet: Recurrent Forward Network for Dense Point Cloud Completion},
    author = {Tianxin Huang and Hao Zou and Jinhao Cui and Xuemeng Yang and Mengmeng Wang and Xiangrui Zhao and Jiangning Zhang and Yi Yuan and Yifan Xu and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 International Conference on Computer Vision},
    pages = {12488-12497},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICCV48922.2021.01228},
    abstract = {Point cloud completion is an interesting and challenging task in 3D vision, aiming to recover complete shapes from sparse and incomplete point clouds. Existing learning based methods often require vast computation cost to achieve excellent performance, which limits their practical applications. In this paper, we propose a novel Recurrent Forward Network (RFNet), which is composed of three modules: Recurrent Feature Extraction (RFE), Forward Dense Completion (FDC) and Raw Shape Protection (RSP). The RFE extracts multiple global features from the incomplete point clouds for different recurrent levels, and the FDC generates point clouds in a coarse-to-fine pipeline. The RSP introduces details from the original incomplete models to refine the completion results. Besides, we propose a Sampling Chamfer Distance to better capture the shapes of models and a new Balanced Expansion Constraint to restrict the expansion distances from coarse to fine. According to the experiments on ShapeNet and KITTI, our network can achieve the state-of-the-art with lower memory cost and faster convergence.}
    }

  • L. Liu, X. Song, M. Wang, Y. Liu, and L. Zhang, “Self-supervised Monocular Depth Estimation for All Day Images using Domain Separation," in 2021 International Conference on Computer Vision, 2021, pp. 12717-12726.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Remarkable results have been achieved by DCNN based self-supervised depth estimation approaches. However, most of these approaches can only handle either day-time or night-time images, while their performance degrades for all-day images due to large domain shift and the variation of illumination between day and night images. To relieve these limitations, we propose a domain-separated network for self-supervised depth estimation of all-day images. Specifically, to relieve the negative influence of disturbing terms (illumination, etc.), we partition the information of day and night image pairs into two complementary sub-spaces: private and invariant domains, where the former contains the unique information (illumination, etc.) of day and night images and the latter contains essential shared information (texture, etc.). Meanwhile, to guarantee that the day and night images contain the same information, the domain-separated network takes the day-time images and corresponding night-time images (generated by GAN) as input, and the private and invariant feature extractors are learned by orthogonality and similarity loss, where the domain gap can be alleviated, thus better depth maps can be expected. Meanwhile, the reconstruction and photometric losses are utilized to estimate complementary information and depth maps effectively. Experimental results demonstrate that our approach achieves state-of-the art depth estimation results for all-day images on the challenging Oxford RobotCar dataset, proving the superiority of our proposed approach. Code and data split are available at https://github.com/LINA-lln/ADDS-DepthNet.

    @inproceedings{liu2021selfsm,
    title = {Self-supervised Monocular Depth Estimation for All Day Images using Domain Separation},
    author = {Lina Liu and Xibin Song and Mengmeng Wang and Yong Liu and Liangjun Zhang},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 International Conference on Computer Vision},
    pages = {12717-12726},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICCV48922.2021.01250},
    abstract = {Remarkable results have been achieved by DCNN based self-supervised depth estimation approaches. However, most of these approaches can only handle either day-time or night-time images, while their performance degrades for all-day images due to large domain shift and the variation of illumination between day and night images. To relieve these limitations, we propose a domain-separated network for self-supervised depth estimation of all-day images. Specifically, to relieve the negative influence of disturbing terms (illumination, etc.), we partition the information of day and night image pairs into two complementary sub-spaces: private and invariant domains, where the former contains the unique information (illumination, etc.) of day and night images and the latter contains essential shared information (texture, etc.). Meanwhile, to guarantee that the day and night images contain the same information, the domain-separated network takes the day-time images and corresponding night-time images (generated by GAN) as input, and the private and invariant feature extractors are learned by orthogonality and similarity loss, where the domain gap can be alleviated, thus better depth maps can be expected. Meanwhile, the reconstruction and photometric losses are utilized to estimate complementary information and depth maps effectively. Experimental results demonstrate that our approach achieves state-of-the art depth estimation results for all-day images on the challenging Oxford RobotCar dataset, proving the superiority of our proposed approach. Code and data split are available at https://github.com/LINA-lln/ADDS-DepthNet.}
    }

  • J. Lv, K. Hu, J. Xu, Y. Liu, and X. Zuo, “CLINS: Continuous-Time Trajectory Estimation for LiDAR Inertial System," in 2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2021, pp. 6657-6663.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this paper, we propose a highly accurate continuous-time trajectory estimation framework dedicated to SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) applications, which enables fuse high-frequency and asynchronous sensor data effectively. We apply the proposed framework in a 3D LiDAR-inertial system for evaluations. The proposed method adopts a non-rigid registration method for continuous-time trajectory estimation and simultaneously removing the motion distortion in LiDAR scans. Additionally, we propose a two-state continuous-time trajectory correction method to efficiently and efficiently tackle the computationally-intractable global optimization problem when loop closure happens. We examine the accuracy of the proposed approach on several publicly available datasets and the data we collected. The experimental results indicate that the proposed method outperforms the discrete-time methods regarding accuracy especially when aggressive motion occurs. Furthermore, we open source our code at https://github.com/APRIL-ZJU/clins to benefit research community.

    @inproceedings{lv2021clins,
    title = {CLINS: Continuous-Time Trajectory Estimation for LiDAR Inertial System},
    author = {Jiajun Lv and Kewei Hu and Jinhong Xu and Yong Liu and Xingxing Zuo},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems},
    pages = {6657-6663},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS51168.2021.9636676},
    abstract = {In this paper, we propose a highly accurate continuous-time trajectory estimation framework dedicated to SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) applications, which enables fuse high-frequency and asynchronous sensor data effectively. We apply the proposed framework in a 3D LiDAR-inertial system for evaluations. The proposed method adopts a non-rigid registration method for continuous-time trajectory estimation and simultaneously removing the motion distortion in LiDAR scans. Additionally, we propose a two-state continuous-time trajectory correction method to efficiently and efficiently tackle the computationally-intractable global optimization problem when loop closure happens. We examine the accuracy of the proposed approach on several publicly available datasets and the data we collected. The experimental results indicate that the proposed method outperforms the discrete-time methods regarding accuracy especially when aggressive motion occurs. Furthermore, we open source our code at https://github.com/APRIL-ZJU/clins to benefit research community.}
    }

  • S. Liu, licheng Wen, J. Cui, X. Yang, J. Cao, and Y. Liu, “Moving Forward in Formation: A Decentralized Hierarchical Learning Approach to Multi-Agent Moving Together," in 2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2021, pp. 4777-4784.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Multi-agent path finding in formation has manypotential real-world applications like mobile warehouse robotics. However, previous multi-agent path finding (MAPF) methods hardly take formation into consideration. Furthermore, they are usually centralized planners and require the whole state of the environment. Other decentralized partially observable approaches to MAPF are reinforcement learning (RL) methods. However, these RL methods encounter difficulties when learning path finding and formation problems at the same time. In this paper, we propose a novel decentralized partially observable RL algorithm that uses a hierarchical structure to decompose the multi-objective task into unrelated ones. It also calculates a theoretical weight that makes each tasks reward has equal influence on the final RL value function. Additionally, we introduce a communication method that helps agents cooperate with each other. Experiments in simulation show that our method outperforms other end-toend RL methods and our method can naturally scale to large world sizes where centralized planner struggles. We also deploy and validate our method in a real-world scenario.

    @inproceedings{liu2021movingfi,
    title = {Moving Forward in Formation: A Decentralized Hierarchical Learning Approach to Multi-Agent Moving Together},
    author = {Shanqi Liu and licheng Wen and Jinhao Cui and Xuemeng Yang and Junjie Cao and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems},
    pages = {4777-4784},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS51168.2021.9636224},
    abstract = {Multi-agent path finding in formation has manypotential real-world applications like mobile warehouse robotics. However, previous multi-agent path finding (MAPF) methods hardly take formation into consideration. Furthermore, they are usually centralized planners and require the whole state of the environment. Other decentralized partially observable approaches to MAPF are reinforcement learning (RL) methods. However, these RL methods encounter difficulties when learning path finding and formation problems at the same time. In this paper, we propose a novel decentralized partially observable RL algorithm that uses a hierarchical structure to decompose the multi-objective task into unrelated ones. It also calculates a theoretical weight that makes each tasks reward has equal influence on the final RL value function. Additionally, we introduce a communication method that helps agents cooperate with each other. Experiments in simulation show that our method outperforms other end-toend RL methods and our method can naturally scale to large world sizes where centralized planner struggles. We also deploy and validate our method in a real-world scenario.}
    }

  • H. Zou, X. Yang, T. Huang, C. Zhang, Y. Liu, W. Li, F. Wen, and H. Zhang, “Up-to-Down Network: Fusing Multi-Scale Context for 3D Semantic Scene Completion," in 2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2021, pp. 16-23.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    An efficient 3D scene perception algorithm is a vital component for autonomous driving and robotics systems. In this paper, we focus on semantic scene completion, which is a task of jointly estimating the volumetric occupancy and semantic labels of objects. Since the real-world data is sparse and occluded, this is an extremely challenging task. We propose a novel framework, named Up-to-Down network (UDNet), to achieve the large-scale semantic scene completion with an encoder-decoder architecture for voxel grids. The novel up-to-down block can effectively aggregate multi-scale context information to improve labeling coherence, and the atrous spatial pyramid pooling module is leveraged to expand the receptive field while preserving detailed geometric information. Besides, the proposed multi-scale fusion mechanism efficiently aggregates global background information and improves the semantic completion accuracy. Moreover, to further satisfy the needs of different tasks, our UDNet can accomplish the multi-resolution semantic completion, achieving faster but coarser completion. Detailed experiments in the semantic scene completion benchmark of SemanticKITTI illustrate that our proposed framework surpasses the state-of-the-art methods with remarkable margins and a real-time inference speed by using only voxel grids as input.

    @inproceedings{zou2021utd,
    title = {Up-to-Down Network: Fusing Multi-Scale Context for 3D Semantic Scene Completion},
    author = {Hao Zou and Xuemeng Yang and Tianxin Huang and Chujuan Zhang and Yong Liu and Wanlong Li and Feng Wen and Hongbo Zhang},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems},
    pages = {16-23},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS51168.2021.9635888},
    abstract = {An efficient 3D scene perception algorithm is a vital component for autonomous driving and robotics systems. In this paper, we focus on semantic scene completion, which is a task of jointly estimating the volumetric occupancy and semantic labels of objects. Since the real-world data is sparse and occluded, this is an extremely challenging task. We propose a novel framework, named Up-to-Down network (UDNet), to achieve the large-scale semantic scene completion with an encoder-decoder architecture for voxel grids. The novel up-to-down block can effectively aggregate multi-scale context information to improve labeling coherence, and the atrous spatial pyramid pooling module is leveraged to expand the receptive field while preserving detailed geometric information. Besides, the proposed multi-scale fusion mechanism efficiently aggregates global background information and improves the semantic completion accuracy. Moreover, to further satisfy the needs of different tasks, our UDNet can accomplish the multi-resolution semantic completion, achieving faster but coarser completion. Detailed experiments in the semantic scene completion benchmark of SemanticKITTI illustrate that our proposed framework surpasses the state-of-the-art methods with remarkable margins and a real-time inference speed by using only voxel grids as input.}
    }

  • H. Zou, C. Zhang, Y. Liu, W. Li, F. Wen, and H. Zhang, “PointSiamRCNN: Target Aware Two-stage Siamese Tracker for Point Clouds," in 2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2021, pp. 7029-7035.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Currently, there have been many kinds of pointbased 3D trackers, while voxel-based methods are still underexplored. In this paper, we first propose a voxel-based tracker, named PointSiamRCNN, improving tracking performance by embedding target information into the search region. Our framework is composed of two parts for achieving proposal generation and proposal refinement, which fully releases the potential of the two-stage object tracking. Specifically, it takes advantage of efficient feature learning of the voxel-based Siamese network and high-quality proposal generation of the Siamese region proposal network head. In the search region, the groundtruth annotations are utilized to realize semantic segmentation, which leads to more discriminative feature learning with pointwise supervisions. Furthermore, we propose the Self and Cross Attention Module for embedding target information into the search region. Finally, the multi-scale RoI pooling module is proposed to obtain compact representations from target-aware features for proposal refinement. Exhaustive experiments on the KITTI tracking dataset demonstrate that our framework reaches the competitive performance with the state-of-the-art 3D tracking methods and achieves the state-of-the-art in terms of BEV tracking.

    @inproceedings{zou2021pta,
    title = {PointSiamRCNN: Target Aware Two-stage Siamese Tracker for Point Clouds},
    author = {Hao Zou and Chujuan Zhang and Yong Liu and Wanlong Li and Feng Wen and Hongbo Zhang},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems},
    pages = {7029-7035},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS51168.2021.9636863},
    abstract = {Currently, there have been many kinds of pointbased 3D trackers, while voxel-based methods are still underexplored. In this paper, we first propose a voxel-based tracker, named PointSiamRCNN, improving tracking performance by embedding target information into the search region. Our framework is composed of two parts for achieving proposal generation and proposal refinement, which fully releases the potential of the two-stage object tracking. Specifically, it takes advantage of efficient feature learning of the voxel-based Siamese network and high-quality proposal generation of the Siamese region proposal network head. In the search region, the groundtruth annotations are utilized to realize semantic segmentation, which leads to more discriminative feature learning with pointwise supervisions. Furthermore, we propose the Self and Cross Attention Module for embedding target information into the search region. Finally, the multi-scale RoI pooling module is proposed to obtain compact representations from target-aware features for proposal refinement. Exhaustive experiments on the KITTI tracking dataset demonstrate that our framework reaches the competitive performance with the state-of-the-art 3D tracking methods and achieves the state-of-the-art in terms of BEV tracking.}
    }

  • X. Yang, H. Zou, X. Kong, T. Huang, Y. Liu, W. Li, F. Wen, and H. Zhang, “Semantic Segmentation-assisted Scene Completion for LiDAR Point Clouds," in 2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2021, pp. 3555-3562.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Outdoor scene completion is a challenging issue in 3D scene understanding, which plays an important role in intelligent robotics and autonomous driving. Due to the sparsity of LiDAR acquisition, it is far more complex for 3D scene completion and semantic segmentation. Since semantic features can provide constraints and semantic priors for completion tasks, the relationship between them is worth exploring. Therefore, we propose an end-to-end semantic segmentation-assisted scene completion network, including a 2D completion branch and a 3D semantic segmentation branch. Specifically, the network takes a raw point cloud as input, and merges the features from the segmentation branch into the completion branch hierarchically to provide semantic information. By adopting BEV representation and 3D sparse convolution, we can benefit from the lower operand while maintaining effective expression. Besides, the decoder of the segmentation branch is used as an auxiliary, which can be discarded in the inference stage to save computational consumption. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our method achieves competitive performance on SemanticKITTI dataset with low latency. Code and models will be released at https://github.com/jokester-zzz/SSA-SC.

    @inproceedings{yang2021ssa,
    title = {Semantic Segmentation-assisted Scene Completion for LiDAR Point Clouds},
    author = {Xuemeng Yang and Hao Zou and Xin Kong and Tianxin Huang and Yong Liu and Wanlong Li and Feng Wen and Hongbo Zhang},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems},
    pages = {3555-3562},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS51168.2021.9636662},
    abstract = {Outdoor scene completion is a challenging issue in 3D scene understanding, which plays an important role in intelligent robotics and autonomous driving. Due to the sparsity of LiDAR acquisition, it is far more complex for 3D scene completion and semantic segmentation. Since semantic features can provide constraints and semantic priors for completion tasks, the relationship between them is worth exploring. Therefore, we propose an end-to-end semantic segmentation-assisted scene completion network, including a 2D completion branch and a 3D semantic segmentation branch. Specifically, the network takes a raw point cloud as input, and merges the features from the segmentation branch into the completion branch hierarchically to provide semantic information. By adopting BEV representation and 3D sparse convolution, we can benefit from the lower operand while maintaining effective expression. Besides, the decoder of the segmentation branch is used as an auxiliary, which can be discarded in the inference stage to save computational consumption. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our method achieves competitive performance on SemanticKITTI dataset with low latency. Code and models will be released at https://github.com/jokester-zzz/SSA-SC.}
    }

  • L. Li, X. Kong, X. Zhao, T. Huang, and Y. Liu, “SSC: Semantic Scan Context for Large-Scale Place Recognition," in 2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2021, pp. 2092-2099.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Place recognition gives a SLAM system the ability to correct cumulative errors. Unlike images that contain rich texture features, point clouds are almost pure geometric information which makes place recognition based on point clouds challenging. Existing works usually encode low-level features such as coordinate, normal, reflection intensity, etc., as local or global descriptors to represent scenes. Besides, they often ignore the translation between point clouds when matching descriptors. Different from most existing methods, we explore the use of high-level features, namely semantics, to improve the descriptor’s representation ability. Also, when matching descriptors, we try to correct the translation between point clouds to improve accuracy. Concretely, we propose a novel global descriptor, Semantic Scan Context, which explores semantic information to represent scenes more effectively. We also present a two-step global semantic ICP to obtain the 3D pose (x, y, yaw) used to align the point cloud to improve matching performance. Our experiments on the KITTI dataset show that our approach outperforms the state-of-the-art methods with a large margin. Our code is available at: https://github.com/lilin-hitcrt/SSC.

    @inproceedings{li2021ssc,
    title = {SSC: Semantic Scan Context for Large-Scale Place Recognition},
    author = {Lin Li and Xin Kong and Xiangrui Zhao and Tianxin Huang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems},
    pages = {2092-2099},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS51168.2021.9635904},
    abstract = {Place recognition gives a SLAM system the ability to correct cumulative errors. Unlike images that contain rich texture features, point clouds are almost pure geometric information which makes place recognition based on point clouds challenging. Existing works usually encode low-level features such as coordinate, normal, reflection intensity, etc., as local or global descriptors to represent scenes. Besides, they often ignore the translation between point clouds when matching descriptors. Different from most existing methods, we explore the use of high-level features, namely semantics, to improve the descriptor’s representation ability. Also, when matching descriptors, we try to correct the translation between point clouds to improve accuracy. Concretely, we propose a novel global descriptor, Semantic Scan Context, which explores semantic information to represent scenes more effectively. We also present a two-step global semantic ICP to obtain the 3D pose (x, y, yaw) used to align the point cloud to improve matching performance. Our experiments on the KITTI dataset show that our approach outperforms the state-of-the-art methods with a large margin. Our code is available at: https://github.com/lilin-hitcrt/SSC.}
    }

  • S. Liu, J. Cao, W. Chen, licheng Wen, and Y. Liu, “HILONet: Hierarchical Imitation Learning from Non-Aligned Observations," in 2021 IEEE 10th data Driven Control And Learning Systems Conference, 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    It is challenging learning from demonstrated observation-only trajectories in a non-time-aligned environment because most imitation learning methods aim to imitate experts by following the demonstration step-by-step. However, aligned demonstrations are seldom obtainable in real-world scenarios. In this work, we propose a new imitation learning approach called Hierarchical Imitation Learning from Observation(HILONet), which adopts a hierarchical structure to choose feasible sub-goals from demonstrated observations dynamically. Our method can solve all kinds of tasks by achieving these sub-goals, whether it has a single goal position or not. We also present three different ways to increase sample efficiency in the hierarchical structure. We conduct extensive experiments using several environments. The results show the improvement in both performance and learning efficiency.

    @inproceedings{liu2021hilonethi,
    title = {HILONet: Hierarchical Imitation Learning from Non-Aligned Observations},
    author = {Shanqi Liu and Junjie Cao and Wenzhou Chen and licheng Wen and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 IEEE 10th data Driven Control And Learning Systems Conference},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2011.02671},
    abstract = {It is challenging learning from demonstrated observation-only trajectories in a non-time-aligned environment because most imitation learning methods aim to imitate experts by following the demonstration step-by-step. However, aligned demonstrations are seldom obtainable in real-world scenarios. In this work, we propose a new imitation learning approach called Hierarchical Imitation Learning from Observation(HILONet), which adopts a hierarchical structure to choose feasible sub-goals from demonstrated observations dynamically. Our method can solve all kinds of tasks by achieving these sub-goals, whether it has a single goal position or not. We also present three different ways to increase sample efficiency in the hierarchical structure. We conduct extensive experiments using several environments. The results show the improvement in both performance and learning efficiency.}
    }

  • K. Zhang and Y. Liu, “Unsupervised Feature Learning with Data Augmentation for Control Valve Stiction Detection," in 2021 IEEE 10th data Driven Control And Learning Systems Conference, 2021, pp. 1385-1390.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    This paper proposes an unsupervised feature learning approach on industrial time series data for detection of valve stiction. Considering the commonly existed characteristics of industrial time series signals and the condition that sometimes massive reliable labeled-data are not available, a new time series data transformation and augmentation method is developed. The transformation stage converts the raw time series signals to 2-D matrices and the augmentation stage increases the diversity of the matrices by performing transformation on different timescales. Then a convolutional autoencoder is used to extract the representative features on the augmented data, these new features are taken as the inputs of the traditional clustering algorithms. Unlike the traditional approaches using hand-crafted features or requiring labeled-data, the proposed strategy can automatically learn features on the time series data collected from industrial control loops without supervision. The effectiveness of the pro-posed approach is evaluated through the International Stiction Data Base (ISDB). Compared with the traditional machine learning methods and deep learning based methods, the experimental results demonstrate that the proposed strategy outperforms the other methods. Besides performance evaluation, we provide a visualization process of feature learning via principal component analy-sis.

    @inproceedings{zhang2021unsupervisedfl,
    title = {Unsupervised Feature Learning with Data Augmentation for Control Valve Stiction Detection},
    author = {Kexin Zhang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 IEEE 10th data Driven Control And Learning Systems Conference},
    pages = {1385-1390},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/DDCLS52934.2021.9455535},
    abstract = {This paper proposes an unsupervised feature learning approach on industrial time series data for detection of valve stiction. Considering the commonly existed characteristics of industrial time series signals and the condition that sometimes massive reliable labeled-data are not available, a new time series data transformation and augmentation method is developed. The transformation stage converts the raw time series signals to 2-D matrices and the augmentation stage increases the diversity of the matrices by performing transformation on different timescales. Then a convolutional autoencoder is used to extract the representative features on the augmented data, these new features are taken as the inputs of the traditional clustering algorithms. Unlike the traditional approaches using hand-crafted features or requiring labeled-data, the proposed strategy can automatically learn features on the time series data collected from industrial control loops without supervision. The effectiveness of the pro-posed approach is evaluated through the International Stiction Data Base (ISDB). Compared with the traditional machine learning methods and deep learning based methods, the experimental results demonstrate that the proposed strategy outperforms the other methods. Besides performance evaluation, we provide a visualization process of feature learning via principal component analy-sis.}
    }

  • X. Zuo, N. Merrill, W. Li, Y. Liu, M. Pollefeys, and G. (. Huang, “CodeVIO: Visual-Inertial Odometry with Learned Optimizable Dense Depth," in 2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2021, pp. 14382-14388.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    In this work, we present a lightweight, tightly-coupled deep depth network and visual-inertial odometry (VIO) system, which can provide accurate state estimates and dense depth maps of the immediate surroundings. Leveraging the pro-posed lightweight Conditional Variational Autoencoder (CVAE) for depth inference and encoding, we provide the network with previously marginalized sparse features from VIO to increase the accuracy of initial depth prediction and generalization capability. The compact encoded depth maps are then updated jointly with navigation states in a sliding window estimator in order to provide the dense local scene geometry. We additionally propose a novel method to obtain the CVAE’s Jacobian which is shown to be more than an order of magnitude faster than previous works, and we additionally leverage First-Estimate Jacobian (FEJ) to avoid recalculation. As opposed to previous works relying on completely dense residuals, we propose to only provide sparse measurements to update the depth code and show through careful experimentation that our choice of sparse measurements and FEJs can still significantly improve the estimated depth maps. Our full system also exhibits state-of-the-art pose estimation accuracy, and we show that it can run in real-time with single-thread execution while utilizing GPU acceleration only for the network and code Jacobian.

    @inproceedings{zuo2021codeviovi,
    title = {CodeVIO: Visual-Inertial Odometry with Learned Optimizable Dense Depth},
    author = {Xingxing Zuo and Nathaniel Merrill and Wei Li and Yong Liu and Marc Pollefeys and Guoquan (Paul) Huang},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation},
    pages = {14382-14388},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICRA48506.2021.9560792},
    abstract = {In this work, we present a lightweight, tightly-coupled deep depth network and visual-inertial odometry (VIO) system, which can provide accurate state estimates and dense depth maps of the immediate surroundings. Leveraging the pro-posed lightweight Conditional Variational Autoencoder (CVAE) for depth inference and encoding, we provide the network with previously marginalized sparse features from VIO to increase the accuracy of initial depth prediction and generalization capability. The compact encoded depth maps are then updated jointly with navigation states in a sliding window estimator in order to provide the dense local scene geometry. We additionally propose a novel method to obtain the CVAE’s Jacobian which is shown to be more than an order of magnitude faster than previous works, and we additionally leverage First-Estimate Jacobian (FEJ) to avoid recalculation. As opposed to previous works relying on completely dense residuals, we propose to only provide sparse measurements to update the depth code and show through careful experimentation that our choice of sparse measurements and FEJs can still significantly improve the estimated depth maps. Our full system also exhibits state-of-the-art pose estimation accuracy, and we show that it can run in real-time with single-thread execution while utilizing GPU acceleration only for the network and code Jacobian.},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/abs/2012.10133}
    }

  • J. Cui, H. Zou, X. Kong, X. Yang, X. Zhao, Y. Liu, W. Li, F. Wen, and H. Zhang, “PocoNet: SLAM-oriented 3D LiDAR Point Cloud Online Compression Network," in 2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2021, pp. 1868-1874.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this paper, we present PocoNet: Point cloud Online COmpression NETwork to address the task of SLAM- oriented compression. The aim of this task is to select a compact subset of points with high priority to maintain localization accuracy. The key insight is that points with high priority have similar geometric features in SLAM scenarios. Hence, we tackle this task as point cloud segmentation to capture complex geometric information. We calculate observation counts by matching between maps and point clouds and divide them into different priority levels. Trained by labels annotated with such observation counts, the proposed network could evaluate the point-wise priority. Experiments are conducted by integrating our compression module into an existing SLAM system to evaluate compression ratios and localization performances. Ex- perimental results on two different datasets verify the feasibility and generalization of our approach.

    @inproceedings{cui2021poconetso,
    title = {PocoNet: SLAM-oriented 3D LiDAR Point Cloud Online Compression Network},
    author = {Jinhao Cui and Hao Zou and Xin Kong and Xuemeng Yang and Xiangrui Zhao and Yong Liu and Wanlong Li and Feng Wen and Hongbo Zhang},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation},
    pages = {1868-1874},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICRA48506.2021.9561309},
    abstract = {In this paper, we present PocoNet: Point cloud Online COmpression NETwork to address the task of SLAM- oriented compression. The aim of this task is to select a compact subset of points with high priority to maintain localization accuracy. The key insight is that points with high priority have similar geometric features in SLAM scenarios. Hence, we tackle this task as point cloud segmentation to capture complex geometric information. We calculate observation counts by matching between maps and point clouds and divide them into different priority levels. Trained by labels annotated with such observation counts, the proposed network could evaluate the point-wise priority. Experiments are conducted by integrating our compression module into an existing SLAM system to evaluate compression ratios and localization performances. Ex- perimental results on two different datasets verify the feasibility and generalization of our approach.}
    }

  • L. Li, X. Kong, X. Zhao, and Y. Liu, “SA-LOAM: Semantic-aided LiDAR SLAM with Loop Closure," in 2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2021, pp. 7627-7634.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    LiDAR-based SLAM system is admittedly more accurate and stable than others, while its loop closure de-tection is still an open issue. With the development of 3D semantic segmentation for point cloud, semantic information can be obtained conveniently and steadily, essential for high-level intelligence and conductive to SLAM. In this paper, we present a novel semantic-aided LiDAR SLAM with loop closure based on LOAM, named SA-LOAM, which leverages semantics in odometry as well as loop closure detection. Specifically, we propose a semantic-assisted ICP, including semantically matching, downsampling and plane constraint, and integrates a semantic graph-based place recognition method in our loop closure detection module. Benefitting from semantics, we can improve the localization accuracy, detect loop closures effec-tively, and construct a global consistent semantic map even in large-scale scenes. Extensive experiments on KITTI and Ford Campus dataset show that our system significantly improves baseline performance, has generalization ability to unseen data and achieves competitive results compared with state-of-the-art methods.

    @inproceedings{li2021ssa,
    title = {SA-LOAM: Semantic-aided LiDAR SLAM with Loop Closure},
    author = {Lin Li and Xin Kong and Xiangrui Zhao and Yong Liu},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation},
    pages = {7627-7634},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICRA48506.2021.9560884},
    abstract = {LiDAR-based SLAM system is admittedly more accurate and stable than others, while its loop closure de-tection is still an open issue. With the development of 3D semantic segmentation for point cloud, semantic information can be obtained conveniently and steadily, essential for high-level intelligence and conductive to SLAM. In this paper, we present a novel semantic-aided LiDAR SLAM with loop closure based on LOAM, named SA-LOAM, which leverages semantics in odometry as well as loop closure detection. Specifically, we propose a semantic-assisted ICP, including semantically matching, downsampling and plane constraint, and integrates a semantic graph-based place recognition method in our loop closure detection module. Benefitting from semantics, we can improve the localization accuracy, detect loop closures effec-tively, and construct a global consistent semantic map even in large-scale scenes. Extensive experiments on KITTI and Ford Campus dataset show that our system significantly improves baseline performance, has generalization ability to unseen data and achieves competitive results compared with state-of-the-art methods.}
    }

  • L. Liu, X. Song, X. Lyu, J. Diao, M. Wang, Y. Liu, and L. Zhang, “FCFR-Net: Feature Fusion based Coarse-to-Fine Residual Learning for Monocular Depth Completion," in Proceedings of the 35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [arXiv] [PDF]

    Depth completion aims to recover a dense depth map from a sparse depth map with the corresponding color image as input. Recent approaches mainly formulate the depth completion as a one-stage end-to-end learning task, which outputs dense depth maps directly. However, the feature extraction and supervision in one-stage frameworks are insufficient, limiting the performance of these approaches. To address this problem, we propose a novel end-to-end residual learning framework, which formulates the depth completion as a two-stage learning task, i.e., a sparse-to-coarse stage and a coarse-to-fine stage. First, a coarse dense depth map is obtained by a simple CNN framework. Then, a refined depth map is further obtained using a residual learning strategy in the coarse-to-fine stage with coarse depth map and color image as input. Specially, in the coarse-to-fine stage, a channel shuffle extraction operation is utilized to extract more representative features from color image and coarse depth map, and an energy based fusion operation is exploited to effectively fuse these features obtained by channel shuffle operation, thus leading to more accurate and refined depth maps. We achieve SoTA performance in RMSE on KITTI benchmark. Extensive experiments on other datasets future demonstrate the superiority of our approach over current state-of-the-art depth completion approaches.

    @inproceedings{liu2020fcfrnetff,
    title = {FCFR-Net: Feature Fusion based Coarse-to-Fine Residual Learning for Monocular Depth Completion},
    author = {Lina Liu and Xibin Song and Xiaoyang Lyu and Junwei Diao and Mengmeng Wang and Yong Liu and Liangjun Zhang},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the 35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)},
    abstract = {Depth completion aims to recover a dense depth map from a sparse depth map with the corresponding color image as input. Recent approaches mainly formulate the depth completion as a one-stage end-to-end learning task, which outputs dense depth maps directly. However, the feature extraction and supervision in one-stage frameworks are insufficient, limiting the performance of these approaches. To address this problem, we propose a novel end-to-end residual learning framework, which formulates the depth completion as a two-stage learning task, i.e., a sparse-to-coarse stage and a coarse-to-fine stage. First, a coarse dense depth map is obtained by a simple CNN framework. Then, a refined depth map is further obtained using a residual learning strategy in the coarse-to-fine stage with coarse depth map and color image as input. Specially, in the coarse-to-fine stage, a channel shuffle extraction operation is utilized to extract more representative features from color image and coarse depth map, and an energy based fusion operation is exploited to effectively fuse these features obtained by channel shuffle operation, thus leading to more accurate and refined depth maps. We achieve SoTA performance in RMSE on KITTI benchmark. Extensive experiments on other datasets future demonstrate the superiority of our approach over current state-of-the-art depth completion approaches.},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/pdf/2012.08270.pdf}
    }

  • X. Lyu, L. Liu, M. Wang, X. Kong, L. Liu, Y. Liu, X. Chen, and Y. Yuan, “HR-Depth: High Resolution Self-Supervised Monocular Depth Estimation," in Proceedings of the 35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), 2021.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [arXiv] [PDF]

    Self-supervised learning shows great potential in monoculardepth estimation, using image sequences as the only source ofsupervision. Although people try to use the high-resolutionimage for depth estimation, the accuracy of prediction hasnot been significantly improved. In this work, we find thecore reason comes from the inaccurate depth estimation inlarge gradient regions, making the bilinear interpolation er-ror gradually disappear as the resolution increases. To obtainmore accurate depth estimation in large gradient regions, itis necessary to obtain high-resolution features with spatialand semantic information. Therefore, we present an improvedDepthNet, HR-Depth, with two effective strategies: (1) re-design the skip-connection in DepthNet to get better high-resolution features and (2) propose feature fusion Squeeze-and-Excitation(fSE) module to fuse feature more efficiently.Using Resnet-18 as the encoder, HR-Depth surpasses all pre-vious state-of-the-art(SoTA) methods with the least param-eters at both high and low resolution. Moreover, previousstate-of-the-art methods are based on fairly complex and deepnetworks with a mass of parameters which limits their realapplications. Thus we also construct a lightweight networkwhich uses MobileNetV3 as encoder. Experiments show thatthe lightweight network can perform on par with many largemodels like Monodepth2 at high-resolution with only20%parameters. All codes and models will be available at this https URL.

    @inproceedings{lyu2020hrdepthhr,
    title = {HR-Depth: High Resolution Self-Supervised Monocular Depth Estimation},
    author = {Xiaoyang Lyu and Liang Liu and Mengmeng Wang and Xin Kong and Lina Liu and Yong Liu and Xinxin Chen and Yi Yuan},
    year = 2021,
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the 35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)},
    abstract = {Self-supervised learning shows great potential in monoculardepth estimation, using image sequences as the only source ofsupervision. Although people try to use the high-resolutionimage for depth estimation, the accuracy of prediction hasnot been significantly improved. In this work, we find thecore reason comes from the inaccurate depth estimation inlarge gradient regions, making the bilinear interpolation er-ror gradually disappear as the resolution increases. To obtainmore accurate depth estimation in large gradient regions, itis necessary to obtain high-resolution features with spatialand semantic information. Therefore, we present an improvedDepthNet, HR-Depth, with two effective strategies: (1) re-design the skip-connection in DepthNet to get better high-resolution features and (2) propose feature fusion Squeeze-and-Excitation(fSE) module to fuse feature more efficiently.Using Resnet-18 as the encoder, HR-Depth surpasses all pre-vious state-of-the-art(SoTA) methods with the least param-eters at both high and low resolution. Moreover, previousstate-of-the-art methods are based on fairly complex and deepnetworks with a mass of parameters which limits their realapplications. Thus we also construct a lightweight networkwhich uses MobileNetV3 as encoder. Experiments show thatthe lightweight network can perform on par with many largemodels like Monodepth2 at high-resolution with only20%parameters. All codes and models will be available at this https URL.},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/pdf/2012.07356.pdf}
    }

2020

  • J. Cao, Y. Liu, J. Yang, and Z. Pan, “Model-Based Robot Learning Control with Uncertainty Directed Exploration," in 2020 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), 2020, p. 2004–2010.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    The Robot with nonlinear and stochastic dynamic challenges optimal control that relying on an analytical model. Model-free reinforcement learning algorithms have shown their potential in robot learning control without an analytical or statistical dynamic model. However, requiring numerous samples hinders its application. Model-based reinforcement learning that combines dynamic model learning with model predictive control provides promising methods to control the robot with complex dynamics. Robot exploration generates diverse data for dynamic model learning. Model predictive control exploits the approximated model to select an optimal action. There is a dilemma between exploration and exploitation. Uncertainty provides a direction for robot exploring, resulting in better exploration and exploitation trade-off. In this paper, we propose Model Predictive Control with Posterior Sampling (PSMPC) to make the robot learn to control efficiently. Our PSMPC does approximate sampling from the posterior of the dynamic model and applies model predictive control to achieve uncertainty directed exploration. In order to reduce the computational complexity of the resulting controller, we also propose a PSMPC guided policy optimization algorithm. The results of simulation in the high fidelity simulator “MuJoCo” show the effectiveness of our proposed robot learning control scheme.

    @inproceedings{cao2020modelbasedrl,
    title = {Model-Based Robot Learning Control with Uncertainty Directed Exploration},
    author = {Junjie Cao and Yong Liu and Jian Yang and Zaisheng Pan},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {2020 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM)},
    pages = {2004--2010},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/aim43001.2020.9158962},
    abstract = {The Robot with nonlinear and stochastic dynamic challenges optimal control that relying on an analytical model. Model-free reinforcement learning algorithms have shown their potential in robot learning control without an analytical or statistical dynamic model. However, requiring numerous samples hinders its application. Model-based reinforcement learning that combines dynamic model learning with model predictive control provides promising methods to control the robot with complex dynamics. Robot exploration generates diverse data for dynamic model learning. Model predictive control exploits the approximated model to select an optimal action. There is a dilemma between exploration and exploitation. Uncertainty provides a direction for robot exploring, resulting in better exploration and exploitation trade-off. In this paper, we propose Model Predictive Control with Posterior Sampling (PSMPC) to make the robot learn to control efficiently. Our PSMPC does approximate sampling from the posterior of the dynamic model and applies model predictive control to achieve uncertainty directed exploration. In order to reduce the computational complexity of the resulting controller, we also propose a PSMPC guided policy optimization algorithm. The results of simulation in the high fidelity simulator “MuJoCo” show the effectiveness of our proposed robot learning control scheme.}
    }

  • J. Chen, J. Zhao, W. Zhang, and Y. Liu, “Tracking an Object over 200 FPS with the Fusion of Prior Probability and Kalman Filter," in 12th International Conference on Machine Learning and Computing (ICMLC), 2020.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Efficient object tracking is a challenge problem as it needs to distinguish the object by learned appearance model as quickly as possible. In this paper, a novel robust approach fusing the prediction information of Kalman filter and prior probability is proposed for tracking arbitrary objects. Firstly, we obtain an image patch based on predicted information by fusing the prior probability and Kalman filter. Secondly, the samples derived from the obtained image patch for our tracker are entered into support vector machine (SVM) to classify the object, where these samples need to be extracted features by Histogram of Oriented Gradients (HOG). Our approach has two advantages: efficient computation, and certain anti-interference ability. The samples obtained from image patch is less than that obtained from image, which makes SVM model more efficient in classification and reduces interference outside the image patch. Experimentally, we evaluate our approach on a standard tracking benchmark that includes 50 video sequences to demonstrate our tracker’s nearly state-of-the-art performance compared with 5 trackers. Furthermore, because extracting samples and classifying HOG features is computationally very cheap, our tracker is much faster than these mentioned trackers. It achieves over 200 fps on the Intel i3 CPU for tracking an arbitrary object on benchmark.

    @inproceedings{chen2020trackingao,
    title = {Tracking an Object over 200 FPS with the Fusion of Prior Probability and Kalman Filter},
    author = {Jun Chen and Jinhui Zhao and Wei Zhang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {12th International Conference on Machine Learning and Computing (ICMLC)},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1145/3383972.3384011},
    abstract = {Efficient object tracking is a challenge problem as it needs to distinguish the object by learned appearance model as quickly as possible. In this paper, a novel robust approach fusing the prediction information of Kalman filter and prior probability is proposed for tracking arbitrary objects. Firstly, we obtain an image patch based on predicted information by fusing the prior probability and Kalman filter. Secondly, the samples derived from the obtained image patch for our tracker are entered into support vector machine (SVM) to classify the object, where these samples need to be extracted features by Histogram of Oriented Gradients (HOG). Our approach has two advantages: efficient computation, and certain anti-interference ability. The samples obtained from image patch is less than that obtained from image, which makes SVM model more efficient in classification and reduces interference outside the image patch. Experimentally, we evaluate our approach on a standard tracking benchmark that includes 50 video sequences to demonstrate our tracker's nearly state-of-the-art performance compared with 5 trackers. Furthermore, because extracting samples and classifying HOG features is computationally very cheap, our tracker is much faster than these mentioned trackers. It achieves over 200 fps on the Intel i3 CPU for tracking an arbitrary object on benchmark.}
    }

  • X. Kong, X. Yang, G. Zhai, X. Zhao, X. Zeng, M. Wang, Y. Liu, W. Li, and F. Wen, “Semantic Graph Based Place Recognition for 3D Point Clouds," in 2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2020, p. 8216–8223.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    Due to the difficulty in generating the effective descriptors which are robust to occlusion and viewpoint changes, place recognition for 3D point cloud remains an open issue. Unlike most of the existing methods that focus on extracting local, global, and statistical features of raw point clouds, our method aims at the semantic level that can be superior in terms of robustness to environmental changes. Inspired by the perspective of humans, who recognize scenes through identifying semantic objects and capturing their relations, this paper presents a novel semantic graph based approach for place recognition. First, we propose a novel semantic graph representation for the point cloud scenes by reserving the semantic and topological information of the raw point cloud. Thus, place recognition is modeled as a graph matching problem. Then we design a fast and effective graph similarity network to compute the similarity. Exhaustive evaluations on the KITTI dataset show that our approach is robust to the occlusion as well as viewpoint changes and outperforms the state-of-the-art methods with a large margin. Our code is available at: https://github.com/kxhit/SG_PR.

    @inproceedings{kong2020semanticgb,
    title = {Semantic Graph Based Place Recognition for 3D Point Clouds},
    author = {Xin Kong and Xuemeng Yang and Guangyao Zhai and Xiangrui Zhao and Xianfang Zeng and Mengmeng Wang and Yong Liu and Wanlong Li and Feng Wen},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
    pages = {8216--8223},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS45743.2020.9341060},
    abstract = {Due to the difficulty in generating the effective descriptors which are robust to occlusion and viewpoint changes, place recognition for 3D point cloud remains an open issue. Unlike most of the existing methods that focus on extracting local, global, and statistical features of raw point clouds, our method aims at the semantic level that can be superior in terms of robustness to environmental changes. Inspired by the perspective of humans, who recognize scenes through identifying semantic objects and capturing their relations, this paper presents a novel semantic graph based approach for place recognition. First, we propose a novel semantic graph representation for the point cloud scenes by reserving the semantic and topological information of the raw point cloud. Thus, place recognition is modeled as a graph matching problem. Then we design a fast and effective graph similarity network to compute the similarity. Exhaustive evaluations on the KITTI dataset show that our approach is robust to the occlusion as well as viewpoint changes and outperforms the state-of-the-art methods with a large margin. Our code is available at: https://github.com/kxhit/SG_PR.},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/pdf/2008.11459.pdf}
    }

  • L. Liu, J. Zhang, R. He, Y. Liu, Y. Wang, Y. Tai, D. Luo, C. Wang, J. Li, and F. Huang, “Learning by Analogy: Reliable Supervision From Transformations for Unsupervised Optical Flow Estimation," in 2020 IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2020, p. 6488–6497.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    Unsupervised learning of optical flow, which leverages the supervision from view synthesis, has emerged as a promising alternative to supervised methods. However, the objective of unsupervised learning is likely to be unreliable in challenging scenes. In this work, we present a framework to use more reliable supervision from transformations. It simply twists the general unsupervised learning pipeline by running another forward pass with transformed data from augmentation, along with using transformed predictions of original data as the self-supervision signal. Besides, we further introduce a lightweight network with multiple frames by a highly-shared flow decoder. Our method consistently gets a leap of performance on several benchmarks with the best accuracy among deep unsupervised methods. Also, our method achieves competitive results to recent fully supervised methods while with much fewer parameters.

    @inproceedings{liu2020learningba,
    title = {Learning by Analogy: Reliable Supervision From Transformations for Unsupervised Optical Flow Estimation},
    author = {Liang Liu and Jiangning Zhang and Ruifei He and Yong Liu and Yabiao Wang and Ying Tai and Donghao Luo and Chengjie Wang and Jilin Li and Feiyue Huang},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {2020 IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
    pages = {6488--6497},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/cvpr42600.2020.00652},
    abstract = {Unsupervised learning of optical flow, which leverages the supervision from view synthesis, has emerged as a promising alternative to supervised methods. However, the objective of unsupervised learning is likely to be unreliable in challenging scenes. In this work, we present a framework to use more reliable supervision from transformations. It simply twists the general unsupervised learning pipeline by running another forward pass with transformed data from augmentation, along with using transformed predictions of original data as the self-supervision signal. Besides, we further introduce a lightweight network with multiple frames by a highly-shared flow decoder. Our method consistently gets a leap of performance on several benchmarks with the best accuracy among deep unsupervised methods. Also, our method achieves competitive results to recent fully supervised methods while with much fewer parameters.},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/2003.13045}
    }

  • J. Lv, J. Xu, K. Hu, Y. Liu, and X. Zuo, “Targetless Calibration of LiDAR-IMU System Based on Continuous-time Batch Estimation," in 2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2020, p. 9968–9975.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    Sensor calibration is the fundamental block for a multi-sensor fusion system. This paper presents an accurate and repeatable LiDAR-IMU calibration method (termed LI-Calib), to calibrate the 6-DOF extrinsic transformation between the 3D LiDAR and the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). Regarding the high data capture rate for LiDAR and IMU sensors, LI-Calib adopts a continuous-time trajectory formulation based on B-Spline, which is more suitable for fusing high-rate or asynchronous measurements than discrete-time based approaches. Additionally, LI-Calib decomposes the space into cells and identifies the planar segments for data association, which renders the calibration problem well-constrained in usual scenarios without any artificial targets. We validate the proposed calibration approach on both simulated and real-world experiments. The results demonstrate the high accuracy and good repeatability of the proposed method in common human-made scenarios. To benefit the research community, we open-source our code at https://github.com/APRIL-ZJU/lidar_IMU_calib.

    @inproceedings{lv2020targetlessco,
    title = {Targetless Calibration of LiDAR-IMU System Based on Continuous-time Batch Estimation},
    author = {Jiajun Lv and Jinhong Xu and Kewei Hu and Yong Liu and Xingxing Zuo},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
    pages = {9968--9975},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS45743.2020.9341405},
    abstract = {Sensor calibration is the fundamental block for a multi-sensor fusion system. This paper presents an accurate and repeatable LiDAR-IMU calibration method (termed LI-Calib), to calibrate the 6-DOF extrinsic transformation between the 3D LiDAR and the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). Regarding the high data capture rate for LiDAR and IMU sensors, LI-Calib adopts a continuous-time trajectory formulation based on B-Spline, which is more suitable for fusing high-rate or asynchronous measurements than discrete-time based approaches. Additionally, LI-Calib decomposes the space into cells and identifies the planar segments for data association, which renders the calibration problem well-constrained in usual scenarios without any artificial targets. We validate the proposed calibration approach on both simulated and real-world experiments. The results demonstrate the high accuracy and good repeatability of the proposed method in common human-made scenarios. To benefit the research community, we open-source our code at https://github.com/APRIL-ZJU/lidar_IMU_calib.},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/pdf/2007.14759.pdf}
    }

  • L. Wen, J. Yan, X. Yang, Y. Liu, and Y. Gu, “Collision-free Trajectory Planning for Autonomous Surface Vehicle," in 2020 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), 2020, p. 1098–1105.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    In this paper, we propose an efficient and accurate method for autonomous surface vehicles to generate a smooth and collision-free trajectory considering its dynamics constraints. We decouple the trajectory planning problem as a front-end feasible path searching and a back-end kinodynamic trajectory optimization. Firstly, we model the type of two-thrusts under-actuated surface vessel. Then we adopt a sampling-based path searching to find an asymptotic optimal path through the obstacle-surrounding environment and extract several waypoints from it. We apply a numerical optimization method in the back-end to generate the trajectory. From the perspective of security in the field voyage, we propose the sailing corridor method to guarantee the trajectory away from obstacles. Moreover, considering limited fuel ASV carrying, we design a numerical objective function which can optimize a fuel-saving trajectory. Finally, we validate and compare the proposed method in simulation environments and the results fit our expected trajectory.

    @inproceedings{wen2020collisionfreetp,
    title = {Collision-free Trajectory Planning for Autonomous Surface Vehicle},
    author = {Licheng Wen and Jiaqing Yan and Xuemeng Yang and Yong Liu and Yong Gu},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {2020 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM)},
    pages = {1098--1105},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/AIM43001.2020.9158907},
    abstract = {In this paper, we propose an efficient and accurate method for autonomous surface vehicles to generate a smooth and collision-free trajectory considering its dynamics constraints. We decouple the trajectory planning problem as a front-end feasible path searching and a back-end kinodynamic trajectory optimization. Firstly, we model the type of two-thrusts under-actuated surface vessel. Then we adopt a sampling-based path searching to find an asymptotic optimal path through the obstacle-surrounding environment and extract several waypoints from it. We apply a numerical optimization method in the back-end to generate the trajectory. From the perspective of security in the field voyage, we propose the sailing corridor method to guarantee the trajectory away from obstacles. Moreover, considering limited fuel ASV carrying, we design a numerical objective function which can optimize a fuel-saving trajectory. Finally, we validate and compare the proposed method in simulation environments and the results fit our expected trajectory.},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/2005.09857}
    }

  • X. Zeng, Y. Pan, M. Wang, J. Zhang, and Y. Liu, “Realistic Face Reenactment via Self-Supervised Disentangling of Identity and Pose," in Proceedings of the 34th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), 2020.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    Recent works have shown how realistic talking face images can be obtained under the supervision of geometry guidance, e.g., facial landmark or boundary. To alleviate the demand for manual annotations, in this paper, we propose a novel self-supervised hybrid model (DAE-GAN) that learns how to reenact face naturally given large amounts of unlabeled videos. Our approach combines two deforming autoencoders with the latest advances in the conditional generation. On the one hand, we adopt the deforming autoencoder to disentangle identity and pose representations. A strong prior in talking face videos is that each frame can be encoded as two parts: one for video-specific identity and the other for various poses. Inspired by that, we utilize a multi-frame deforming autoencoder to learn a pose-invariant embedded face for each video. Meanwhile, a multi-scale deforming autoencoder is proposed to extract pose-related information for each frame. On the other hand, the conditional generator allows for enhancing fine details and overall reality. It leverages the disentangled features to generate photo-realistic and pose-alike face images. We evaluate our model on VoxCeleb1 and RaFD dataset. Experiment results demonstrate the superior quality of reenacted images and the flexibility of transferring facial movements between identities.

    @inproceedings{zeng2020realisticfr,
    title = {Realistic Face Reenactment via Self-Supervised Disentangling of Identity and Pose},
    author = {Xianfang Zeng and Yusu Pan and Mengmeng Wang and Jiangning Zhang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the 34th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1609/AAAI.V34I07.6970},
    abstract = {Recent works have shown how realistic talking face images can be obtained under the supervision of geometry guidance, e.g., facial landmark or boundary. To alleviate the demand for manual annotations, in this paper, we propose a novel self-supervised hybrid model (DAE-GAN) that learns how to reenact face naturally given large amounts of unlabeled videos. Our approach combines two deforming autoencoders with the latest advances in the conditional generation. On the one hand, we adopt the deforming autoencoder to disentangle identity and pose representations. A strong prior in talking face videos is that each frame can be encoded as two parts: one for video-specific identity and the other for various poses. Inspired by that, we utilize a multi-frame deforming autoencoder to learn a pose-invariant embedded face for each video. Meanwhile, a multi-scale deforming autoencoder is proposed to extract pose-related information for each frame. On the other hand, the conditional generator allows for enhancing fine details and overall reality. It leverages the disentangled features to generate photo-realistic and pose-alike face images. We evaluate our model on VoxCeleb1 and RaFD dataset. Experiment results demonstrate the superior quality of reenacted images and the flexibility of transferring facial movements between identities.},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/pdf/2003.12957.pdf}
    }

  • J. Zhang, L. Liu, Z. Xue, and Y. Liu, “APB2FACE: Audio-Guided Face Reenactment with Auxiliary Pose and Blink Signals," in 2020 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP), 2020, p. 4402–4406.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    Audio-guided face reenactment aims at generating photorealistic faces using audio information while maintaining the same facial movement as when speaking to a real person. However, existing methods can not generate vivid face images or only reenact low-resolution faces, which limits the application value. To solve those problems, we propose a novel deep neural network named APB2Face, which consists of GeometryPredictor and FaceReenactor modules. GeometryPredictor uses extra head pose and blink state signals as well as audio to predict the latent landmark geometry information, while FaceReenactor inputs the face landmark image to reenact the photorealistic face. A new dataset AnnV I collected from YouTube is presented to support the approach, and experimental results indicate the superiority of our method than state-of-the-arts, whether in authenticity or controllability.

    @inproceedings{zhang2020apb2faceaf,
    title = {APB2FACE: Audio-Guided Face Reenactment with Auxiliary Pose and Blink Signals},
    author = {Jiangning Zhang and Liang Liu and Zhucun Xue and Yong Liu},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {2020 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP)},
    pages = {4402--4406},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICASSP40776.2020.9052977},
    abstract = {Audio-guided face reenactment aims at generating photorealistic faces using audio information while maintaining the same facial movement as when speaking to a real person. However, existing methods can not generate vivid face images or only reenact low-resolution faces, which limits the application value. To solve those problems, we propose a novel deep neural network named APB2Face, which consists of GeometryPredictor and FaceReenactor modules. GeometryPredictor uses extra head pose and blink state signals as well as audio to predict the latent landmark geometry information, while FaceReenactor inputs the face landmark image to reenact the photorealistic face. A new dataset AnnV I collected from YouTube is presented to support the approach, and experimental results indicate the superiority of our method than state-of-the-arts, whether in authenticity or controllability.},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/2004.14569}
    }

  • J. Zhang, C. Xu, L. Liu, M. Wang, X. Wu, Y. Liu, and Y. Jiang, “Dtvnet: Dynamic time-lapse video generation via single still image," in ECCV, 2020, p. 300–315.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    This paper presents a novel end-to-end dynamic time-lapse video generation framework, named DTVNet, to generate diversified time-lapse videos from a single landscape image, which are conditioned on normalized motion vectors. The proposed DTVNet consists of two submodules: Optical Flow Encoder (OFE) and Dynamic Video Generator (DVG). The OFE maps a sequence of optical flow maps to a normalized motion vector that encodes the motion information inside the generated video. The DVG contains motion and content streams that learn from the motion vector and the single image respectively, as well as an encoder and a decoder to learn shared content features and construct video frames with corresponding motion respectively. Specifically, the motion stream introduces multiple adaptive instance normalization (AdaIN) layers to integrate multi-level motion information that are processed by linear layers. In the testing stage, videos with the same content but various motion information can be generated by different normalized motion vectors based on only one input image. We further conduct experiments on Sky Time-lapse dataset, and the results demonstrate the superiority of our approach over the state-of-the-art methods for generating high-quality and dynamic videos, as well as the variety for generating videos with various motion information.

    @inproceedings{zhang2020dtvnet,
    title = {Dtvnet: Dynamic time-lapse video generation via single still image},
    author = {Zhang, Jiangning and Xu, Chao and Liu, Liang and Wang, Mengmeng and Wu, Xia and Liu, Yong and Jiang, Yunliang},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {{ECCV}},
    pages = {300--315},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58558-7_18},
    abstract = {This paper presents a novel end-to-end dynamic time-lapse video generation framework, named DTVNet, to generate diversified time-lapse videos from a single landscape image, which are conditioned on normalized motion vectors. The proposed DTVNet consists of two submodules: Optical Flow Encoder (OFE) and Dynamic Video Generator (DVG). The OFE maps a sequence of optical flow maps to a normalized motion vector that encodes the motion information inside the generated video. The DVG contains motion and content streams that learn from the motion vector and the single image respectively, as well as an encoder and a decoder to learn shared content features and construct video frames with corresponding motion respectively. Specifically, the motion stream introduces multiple adaptive instance normalization (AdaIN) layers to integrate multi-level motion information that are processed by linear layers. In the testing stage, videos with the same content but various motion information can be generated by different normalized motion vectors based on only one input image. We further conduct experiments on Sky Time-lapse dataset, and the results demonstrate the superiority of our approach over the state-of-the-art methods for generating high-quality and dynamic videos, as well as the variety for generating videos with various motion information.},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/abs/2008.04776}
    }

  • H. Zhang, M. Wang, Y. Liu, and Y. Yuan, “FDN: Feature Decoupling Network for Head Pose Estimation," in Proceedings of the 34th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), 2020.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Head pose estimation from RGB images without depth information is a challenging task due to the loss of spatial information as well as large head pose variations in the wild. The performance of existing landmark-free methods remains unsatisfactory as the quality of estimated pose is inferior. In this paper, we propose a novel three-branch network architecture, termed as Feature Decoupling Network (FDN), a more powerful architecture for landmark-free head pose estimation from a single RGB image. In FDN, we first propose a feature decoupling (FD) module to explicitly learn the discriminative features for each pose angle by adaptively recalibrating its channel-wise responses. Besides, we introduce a cross-category center (CCC) loss to constrain the distribution of the latent variable subspaces and thus we can obtain more compact and distinct subspaces. Extensive experiments on both in-the-wild and controlled environment datasets demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms other state-of-the-art methods based on a single RGB image and behaves on par with approaches based on multimodal input resources.

    @inproceedings{zhang2020fdnfd,
    title = {FDN: Feature Decoupling Network for Head Pose Estimation},
    author = {Hao Zhang and Mengmeng Wang and Yong Liu and Yi Yuan},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the 34th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1609/AAAI.V34I07.6974},
    abstract = {Head pose estimation from RGB images without depth information is a challenging task due to the loss of spatial information as well as large head pose variations in the wild. The performance of existing landmark-free methods remains unsatisfactory as the quality of estimated pose is inferior. In this paper, we propose a novel three-branch network architecture, termed as Feature Decoupling Network (FDN), a more powerful architecture for landmark-free head pose estimation from a single RGB image. In FDN, we first propose a feature decoupling (FD) module to explicitly learn the discriminative features for each pose angle by adaptively recalibrating its channel-wise responses. Besides, we introduce a cross-category center (CCC) loss to constrain the distribution of the latent variable subspaces and thus we can obtain more compact and distinct subspaces. Extensive experiments on both in-the-wild and controlled environment datasets demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms other state-of-the-art methods based on a single RGB image and behaves on par with approaches based on multimodal input resources.}
    }

  • J. Zhang, X. Zeng, M. Wang, Y. Pan, L. Liu, Y. Liu, Y. Ding, and C. Fan, “FReeNet: Multi-Identity Face Reenactment," in 2020 IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2020, p. 5325–5334.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    This paper presents a novel multi-identity face reenactment framework, named FReeNet, to transfer facial expressions from an arbitrary source face to a target face with a shared model. The proposed FReeNet consists of two parts: Unified Landmark Converter (ULC) and Geometry-aware Generator (GAG). The ULC adopts an encode-decoder architecture to efficiently convert expression in a latent landmark space, which significantly narrows the gap of the face contour between source and target identities. The GAG leverages the converted landmark to reenact the photorealistic image with a reference image of the target person. Moreover, a new triplet perceptual loss is proposed to force the GAG module to learn appearance and geometry information simultaneously, which also enriches facial details of the reenacted images. Further experiments demonstrate the superiority of our approach for generating photorealistic and expression-alike faces, as well as the flexibility for transferring facial expressions between identities.

    @inproceedings{zhang2020freenetmf,
    title = {FReeNet: Multi-Identity Face Reenactment},
    author = {Jiangning Zhang and Xianfang Zeng and Mengmeng Wang and Yusu Pan and Liang Liu and Yong Liu and Yu Ding and Changjie Fan},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {2020 IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
    pages = {5325--5334},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/cvpr42600.2020.00537},
    abstract = {This paper presents a novel multi-identity face reenactment framework, named FReeNet, to transfer facial expressions from an arbitrary source face to a target face with a shared model. The proposed FReeNet consists of two parts: Unified Landmark Converter (ULC) and Geometry-aware Generator (GAG). The ULC adopts an encode-decoder architecture to efficiently convert expression in a latent landmark space, which significantly narrows the gap of the face contour between source and target identities. The GAG leverages the converted landmark to reenact the photorealistic image with a reference image of the target person. Moreover, a new triplet perceptual loss is proposed to force the GAG module to learn appearance and geometry information simultaneously, which also enriches facial details of the reenacted images. Further experiments demonstrate the superiority of our approach for generating photorealistic and expression-alike faces, as well as the flexibility for transferring facial expressions between identities.},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/1905.11805}
    }

  • X. Zhao, C. Deng, X. Kong, J. Xu, and Y. Liu, “Learning to Compensate for the Drift and Error of Gyroscope in Vehicle Localization," in 2020 IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium (IV), 2020, p. 852–857.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Self-localization is an essential technology for autonomous vehicles. Building robust odometry in a GPS-denied environment is still challenging, especially when LiDAR and camera are uninformative. In this paper, We propose a learning-based approach to cure the drift of gyroscope for vehicle localization. For consumer-level MEMS gyroscope (stability ∼10° /h), our GyroNet can estimate the error of each measurement. For high-precision Fiber optics Gyroscope (stability ∼0.05° /h), we build a FoGNet which can obtain its drift by observing data in a long time window. We perform comparative experiments on publicly available datasets. The results demonstrate that our GyroNet can get higher precision angular velocity than traditional digital filters and static initialization methods. In the vehicle localization, the FoGNet can effectively correct the small drift of the Fiber optics Gyroscope (FoG) and can achieve better results than the state-of-the-art method.

    @inproceedings{zhao2020learningtc,
    title = {Learning to Compensate for the Drift and Error of Gyroscope in Vehicle Localization},
    author = {Xiangrui Zhao and Chunfang Deng and Xin Kong and Jinhong Xu and Yong Liu},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {2020 IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium (IV)},
    pages = {852--857},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IV47402.2020.9304715},
    abstract = {Self-localization is an essential technology for autonomous vehicles. Building robust odometry in a GPS-denied environment is still challenging, especially when LiDAR and camera are uninformative. In this paper, We propose a learning-based approach to cure the drift of gyroscope for vehicle localization. For consumer-level MEMS gyroscope (stability ∼10° /h), our GyroNet can estimate the error of each measurement. For high-precision Fiber optics Gyroscope (stability ∼0.05° /h), we build a FoGNet which can obtain its drift by observing data in a long time window. We perform comparative experiments on publicly available datasets. The results demonstrate that our GyroNet can get higher precision angular velocity than traditional digital filters and static initialization methods. In the vehicle localization, the FoGNet can effectively correct the small drift of the Fiber optics Gyroscope (FoG) and can achieve better results than the state-of-the-art method.}
    }

  • H. Zou, J. Cui, X. Kong, C. Zhang, Y. Liu, F. Wen, and W. Li, “F-Siamese Tracker: A Frustum-based Double Siamese Network for 3D Single Object Tracking," in 2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2020, p. 8133–8139.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    This paper presents F-Siamese Tracker, a novel approach for single object tracking prominently characterized by more robustly integrating 2D and 3D information to reduce redundant search space. A main challenge in 3D single object tracking is how to reduce search space for generating appropriate 3D candidates. Instead of solely relying on 3D proposals, firstly, our method leverages the Siamese network applied on RGB images to produce 2D region proposals which are then extruded into 3D viewing frustums. Besides, we perform an on-line accuracy validation on the 3D frustum to generate refined point cloud searching space, which can be embedded directly into the existing 3D tracking backbone. For efficiency, our approach gains better performance with fewer candidates by reducing search space. In addition, benefited from introducing the online accuracy validation, for occasional cases with strong occlusions or very sparse points, our approach can still achieve high precision, even when the 2D Siamese tracker loses the target. This approach allows us to set a new state-of-the-art in 3D single object tracking by a significant margin on a sparse outdoor dataset (KITTI tracking). Moreover, experiments on 2D single object tracking show that our framework boosts 2D tracking performance as well.

    @inproceedings{zou2020fsiameseta,
    title = {F-Siamese Tracker: A Frustum-based Double Siamese Network for 3D Single Object Tracking},
    author = {Hao Zou and Jinhao Cui and Xin Kong and Chujuan Zhang and Yong Liu and Feng Wen and Wanlong Li},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
    pages = {8133--8139},
    doi = {ttps://doi.org/10.1109/IROS45743.2020.9341120},
    abstract = {This paper presents F-Siamese Tracker, a novel approach for single object tracking prominently characterized by more robustly integrating 2D and 3D information to reduce redundant search space. A main challenge in 3D single object tracking is how to reduce search space for generating appropriate 3D candidates. Instead of solely relying on 3D proposals, firstly, our method leverages the Siamese network applied on RGB images to produce 2D region proposals which are then extruded into 3D viewing frustums. Besides, we perform an on-line accuracy validation on the 3D frustum to generate refined point cloud searching space, which can be embedded directly into the existing 3D tracking backbone. For efficiency, our approach gains better performance with fewer candidates by reducing search space. In addition, benefited from introducing the online accuracy validation, for occasional cases with strong occlusions or very sparse points, our approach can still achieve high precision, even when the 2D Siamese tracker loses the target. This approach allows us to set a new state-of-the-art in 3D single object tracking by a significant margin on a sparse outdoor dataset (KITTI tracking). Moreover, experiments on 2D single object tracking show that our framework boosts 2D tracking performance as well.},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/pdf/2010.11510.pdf}
    }

  • X. Zuo, Y. Yang, P. Geneva, J. Lv, Y. Liu, G. Huang, and M. Pollefeys, “LIC-Fusion 2.0: LiDAR-Inertial-Camera Odometry with Sliding-Window Plane-Feature Tracking," in 2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2020, p. 5112–5119.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    Multi-sensor fusion of multi-modal measurements from commodity inertial, visual and LiDAR sensors to provide robust and accurate 6DOF pose estimation holds great potential in robotics and beyond. In this paper, building upon our prior work (i.e., LIC-Fusion), we develop a sliding-window filter based LiDAR-Inertial-Camera odometry with online spatiotemporal calibration (i.e., LIC-Fusion 2.0), which introduces a novel sliding-window plane-feature tracking for efficiently processing 3D LiDAR point clouds. In particular, after motion compensation for LiDAR points by leveraging IMU data, low-curvature planar points are extracted and tracked across the sliding window. A novel outlier rejection criteria is proposed in the plane-feature tracking for high quality data association. Only the tracked planar points belonging to the same plane will be used for plane initialization, which makes the plane extraction efficient and robust. Moreover, we perform the observability analysis for the IMU-LiDAR subsystem under consideration and report the degenerate cases for spatiotemporal calibration using plane features. While the estimation consistency and identified degenerate motions are validated in Monte-Carlo simulations, different real-world experiments are also conducted to show that the proposed LIC-Fusion 2.0 outperforms its predecessor and other state-of-the-art methods.

    @inproceedings{zuo2020licfusion2l,
    title = {LIC-Fusion 2.0: LiDAR-Inertial-Camera Odometry with Sliding-Window Plane-Feature Tracking},
    author = {Xingxing Zuo and Yulin Yang and Patrick Geneva and Jiajun Lv and Yong Liu and Guoquan Huang and Marc Pollefeys},
    year = 2020,
    booktitle = {2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
    pages = {5112--5119},
    doi = {10.1109/IROS45743.2020.9340704},
    abstract = {Multi-sensor fusion of multi-modal measurements from commodity inertial, visual and LiDAR sensors to provide robust and accurate 6DOF pose estimation holds great potential in robotics and beyond. In this paper, building upon our prior work (i.e., LIC-Fusion), we develop a sliding-window filter based LiDAR-Inertial-Camera odometry with online spatiotemporal calibration (i.e., LIC-Fusion 2.0), which introduces a novel sliding-window plane-feature tracking for efficiently processing 3D LiDAR point clouds. In particular, after motion compensation for LiDAR points by leveraging IMU data, low-curvature planar points are extracted and tracked across the sliding window. A novel outlier rejection criteria is proposed in the plane-feature tracking for high quality data association. Only the tracked planar points belonging to the same plane will be used for plane initialization, which makes the plane extraction efficient and robust. Moreover, we perform the observability analysis for the IMU-LiDAR subsystem under consideration and report the degenerate cases for spatiotemporal calibration using plane features. While the estimation consistency and identified degenerate motions are validated in Monte-Carlo simulations, different real-world experiments are also conducted to show that the proposed LIC-Fusion 2.0 outperforms its predecessor and other state-of-the-art methods.},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/pdf/2008.07196.pdf}
    }

2019

  • T. Huang and Y. Liu, “3D Point Cloud Geometry Compression on Deep Learning," in Proceedings of the 27th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (MM), 2019.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    3D point cloud presentation has been widely used in computer vision, automatic driving, augmented reality, smart cities and virtual reality. 3D point cloud compression method with higher compression ratio and tiny loss is the key to improve data transportation efficiency. In this paper, we propose a new 3D point cloud geometry compression method based on deep learning, also an auto-encoder performing better than other networks in detail reconstruction. It can reach much higher compression ratio than the state-of-art while keeping tolerable loss. It also supports parallel compressing multiple models by GPU, which can improve processing efficiency greatly. The compression process is composed of two parts. Firstly, Raw data is compressed into codeword by extracting feature of raw model with encoder. Then, the codeword is further compressed with sparse coding. Decompression process is implemented in reverse order. Codeword is recovered and fed into decoder to reconstruct point cloud. Detail reconstruction ability is improved by a hierarchical structure in our decoder. Latter outputs are grown from former fuzzier outputs. In this way, details are added to former output by latter layers step by step to make a more precise prediction. We compare our method with PCL compression and Draco compression on ShapeNet40 part dataset. Our method may be the first deep learning-based point cloud compression algorithm. The experiments demonstrate it is superior to former common compression algorithms with large compression ratio, which can also reserve original shapes with tiny loss.

    @inproceedings{huang20193dpc,
    title = {3D Point Cloud Geometry Compression on Deep Learning},
    author = {Tianxing Huang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2019,
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the 27th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (MM)},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1145/3343031.3351061},
    abstract = {3D point cloud presentation has been widely used in computer vision, automatic driving, augmented reality, smart cities and virtual reality. 3D point cloud compression method with higher compression ratio and tiny loss is the key to improve data transportation efficiency. In this paper, we propose a new 3D point cloud geometry compression method based on deep learning, also an auto-encoder performing better than other networks in detail reconstruction. It can reach much higher compression ratio than the state-of-art while keeping tolerable loss. It also supports parallel compressing multiple models by GPU, which can improve processing efficiency greatly. The compression process is composed of two parts. Firstly, Raw data is compressed into codeword by extracting feature of raw model with encoder. Then, the codeword is further compressed with sparse coding. Decompression process is implemented in reverse order. Codeword is recovered and fed into decoder to reconstruct point cloud. Detail reconstruction ability is improved by a hierarchical structure in our decoder. Latter outputs are grown from former fuzzier outputs. In this way, details are added to former output by latter layers step by step to make a more precise prediction. We compare our method with PCL compression and Draco compression on ShapeNet40 part dataset. Our method may be the first deep learning-based point cloud compression algorithm. The experiments demonstrate it is superior to former common compression algorithms with large compression ratio, which can also reserve original shapes with tiny loss.}
    }

  • X. Kong, G. Zhai, B. Zhong, and Y. Liu, “PASS3D: Precise and Accelerated Semantic Segmentation for 3D Point Cloud," in 2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2019, p. 3467–3473.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    In this paper, we propose PASS3D to achieve point-wise semantic segmentation for 3D point cloud. Our framework combines the efficiency of traditional geometric methods with robustness of deep learning methods, consisting of two stages: At stage -1, our accelerated cluster proposal algorithm will generate refined cluster proposals by segmenting point clouds without ground, capable of generating less redundant proposals with higher recall in an extremely short time; stage -2 we will amplify and further process these proposals by a neural network to estimate semantic label for each point and meanwhile propose a novel data augmentation method to enhance the network’s recognition capability for all categories especially for non-rigid objects. Evaluated on KITTI raw dataset, PASS3D stands out against the state-of-the-art on some results, making itself competent to 3D perception in autonomous driving system. Our source code will be open-sourced. A video demonstration is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cukEqDuP_Qw.

    @inproceedings{kong2019pass3dpa,
    title = {PASS3D: Precise and Accelerated Semantic Segmentation for 3D Point Cloud},
    author = {Xin Kong and Guangyao Zhai and Baoquan Zhong and Yong Liu},
    year = 2019,
    booktitle = {2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
    pages = {3467--3473},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS40897.2019.8968296},
    abstract = {In this paper, we propose PASS3D to achieve point-wise semantic segmentation for 3D point cloud. Our framework combines the efficiency of traditional geometric methods with robustness of deep learning methods, consisting of two stages: At stage -1, our accelerated cluster proposal algorithm will generate refined cluster proposals by segmenting point clouds without ground, capable of generating less redundant proposals with higher recall in an extremely short time; stage -2 we will amplify and further process these proposals by a neural network to estimate semantic label for each point and meanwhile propose a novel data augmentation method to enhance the network’s recognition capability for all categories especially for non-rigid objects. Evaluated on KITTI raw dataset, PASS3D stands out against the state-of-the-art on some results, making itself competent to 3D perception in autonomous driving system. Our source code will be open-sourced. A video demonstration is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cukEqDuP_Qw.},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/1909.01643}
    }

  • Y. Li, Y. Liu, and C. Zhang, “What Elements are Essential to Recognize Human Actions?," in Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2019.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [PDF]

    RGB image has been widely used for human action recognition. However, it could be redundant to include all information for human action depiction. We thus ask the following question: What elements are essential for human action recognition? To this end, we investigate several different human representations. These representations emphasize dissimilarly on elements (e.g. background context, actor appearance, and human shape). Systematic analysis enables us to find out essential elements as well as unnecessary contents for human action description. More specifically, our experimental results demonstrate the following: Firstly, both context-related elements and actor appearance are not vital for action recognition in most cases. But an accurate and consistent human representation is important. Secondly, essential human representation ensures better performance and cross-dataset transferability. Thirdly, fine-tuning works only when networks acquire essential elements from human representations. Fourthly, 3D reconstruction-related representation is beneficial for human action recognition tasks. Our study shows researchers need to reflect on more essential elements to depict human actions, and it is also instructive for practical human action recognition in real-world scenarios.

    @inproceedings{li2019whatea,
    title = {What Elements are Essential to Recognize Human Actions?},
    author = {YaChun Li and Yong Liu and Chi Zhang},
    year = 2019,
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
    abstract = {RGB image has been widely used for human action recognition. However, it could be redundant to include all information for human action depiction. We thus ask the following question: What elements are essential for human action recognition? To this end, we investigate several different human representations. These representations emphasize dissimilarly on elements (e.g. background context, actor appearance, and human shape). Systematic analysis enables us to find out essential elements as well as unnecessary contents for human action description. More specifically, our experimental results demonstrate the following: Firstly, both context-related elements and actor appearance are not vital for action recognition in most cases. But an accurate and consistent human representation is important. Secondly, essential human representation ensures better performance and cross-dataset transferability. Thirdly, fine-tuning works only when networks acquire essential elements from human representations. Fourthly, 3D reconstruction-related representation is beneficial for human action recognition tasks. Our study shows researchers need to reflect on more essential elements to depict human actions, and it is also instructive for practical human action recognition in real-world scenarios.}
    }

  • L. Liu, G. Zhai, W. Ye, and Y. Liu, “Unsupervised Learning of Scene Flow Estimation Fusing with Local Rigidity," in 28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), 2019.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Scene flow estimation in the dynamic scene remains a challenging task. Computing scene flow by a combination of 2D optical flow and depth has shown to be considerably faster with acceptable performance. In this work, we present a unified framework for joint unsupervised learning of stereo depth and optical flow with explicit local rigidity to estimate scene flow. We estimate camera motion directly by a Perspective-n-Point method from the optical flow and depth predictions, with RANSAC outlier rejection scheme. In order to disambiguate the object motion and the camera motion in the scene, we distinguish the rigid region by the re-project error and the photometric similarity. By joint learning with the local rigidity, both depth and optical networks can be refined. This framework boosts all four tasks: depth, optical flow, camera motion estimation, and object motion segmentation. Through the evaluation on the KITTI benchmark, we show that the proposed framework achieves state-of-the-art results amongst unsupervised methods. Our models and code are available at https://github.com/lliuz/unrigidflow.

    @inproceedings{liu2019unsupervisedlo,
    title = {Unsupervised Learning of Scene Flow Estimation Fusing with Local Rigidity},
    author = {Liang Liu and Guangyao Zhai and Wenlong Ye and Yong Liu},
    year = 2019,
    booktitle = {28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI)},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.24963/ijcai.2019%2F123},
    abstract = {Scene flow estimation in the dynamic scene remains a challenging task. Computing scene flow by a combination of 2D optical flow and depth has shown to be considerably faster with acceptable performance. In this work, we present a unified framework for joint unsupervised learning of stereo depth and optical flow with explicit local rigidity to estimate scene flow. We estimate camera motion directly by a Perspective-n-Point method from the optical flow and depth predictions, with RANSAC outlier rejection scheme. In order to disambiguate the object motion and the camera motion in the scene, we distinguish the rigid region by the re-project error and the photometric similarity. By joint learning with the local rigidity, both depth and optical networks can be refined. This framework boosts all four tasks: depth, optical flow, camera motion estimation, and object motion segmentation. Through the evaluation on the KITTI benchmark, we show that the proposed framework achieves state-of-the-art results amongst unsupervised methods. Our models and code are available at https://github.com/lliuz/unrigidflow.}
    }

  • T. Shi, Y. Yuan, C. Fan, Z. Zou, Z. Shi, and Y. Liu, “Face-to-Parameter Translation for Game Character Auto-Creation," in 2019 IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2019, p. 161–170.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    Character customization system is an important component in Role-Playing Games (RPGs), where players are allowed to edit the facial appearance of their in-game characters with their own preferences rather than using default templates. This paper proposes a method for automatically creating in-game characters of players according to an input face photo. We formulate the above “artistic creation" process under a facial similarity measurement and parameter searching paradigm by solving an optimization problem over a large set of physically meaningful facial parameters. To effectively minimize the distance between the created face and the real one, two loss functions, i.e. a “discriminative loss" and a “facial content loss", are specifically designed. As the rendering process of a game engine is not differentiable, a generative network is further introduced as an “imitator" to imitate the physical behavior of the game engine so that the proposed method can be implemented under a neural style transfer framework and the parameters can be optimized by gradient descent. Experimental results demonstrate that our method achieves a high degree of generation similarity between the input face photo and the created in-game character in terms of both global appearance and local details. Our method has been deployed in a new game last year and has now been used by players over 1 million times.

    @inproceedings{shi2019facetoparametertf,
    title = {Face-to-Parameter Translation for Game Character Auto-Creation},
    author = {Tianyang Shi and Yi Yuan and Changjie Fan and Zhengxia Zou and Zhenwei Shi and Yong Liu},
    year = 2019,
    booktitle = {2019 IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
    pages = {161--170},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICCV.2019.00025},
    abstract = {Character customization system is an important component in Role-Playing Games (RPGs), where players are allowed to edit the facial appearance of their in-game characters with their own preferences rather than using default templates. This paper proposes a method for automatically creating in-game characters of players according to an input face photo. We formulate the above "artistic creation" process under a facial similarity measurement and parameter searching paradigm by solving an optimization problem over a large set of physically meaningful facial parameters. To effectively minimize the distance between the created face and the real one, two loss functions, i.e. a "discriminative loss" and a "facial content loss", are specifically designed. As the rendering process of a game engine is not differentiable, a generative network is further introduced as an "imitator" to imitate the physical behavior of the game engine so that the proposed method can be implemented under a neural style transfer framework and the parameters can be optimized by gradient descent. Experimental results demonstrate that our method achieves a high degree of generation similarity between the input face photo and the created in-game character in terms of both global appearance and local details. Our method has been deployed in a new game last year and has now been used by players over 1 million times.},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/1909.01064}
    }

  • G. Tian, Y. Yuan, and Y. Liu, “Audio2Face: Generating Speech/Face Animation from Single Audio with Attention-Based Bidirectional LSTM Networks," in 2019 IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo Workshops (ICMEW), 2019, p. 366–371.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    We propose an end to end deep learning approach for generating real-time facial animation from just audio. Specifically, our deep architecture employs deep bidirectional long short-term memory network and attention mechanism to discover the latent representations of time-varying contextual information within the speech and recognize the significance of different information contributed to certain face status. Therefore, our model is able to drive different levels of facial movements at inference and automatically keep up with the corresponding pitch and latent speaking style in the input audio, with no assumption or further human intervention. Evaluation results show that our method could not only generate accurate lip movements from audio, but also successfully regress the speaker’s time-varying facial movements.

    @inproceedings{tian2019audio2facegs,
    title = {Audio2Face: Generating Speech/Face Animation from Single Audio with Attention-Based Bidirectional LSTM Networks},
    author = {Guanzhong Tian and Yi Yuan and Yong Liu},
    year = 2019,
    booktitle = {2019 IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo Workshops (ICMEW)},
    pages = {366--371},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICMEW.2019.00069},
    abstract = {We propose an end to end deep learning approach for generating real-time facial animation from just audio. Specifically, our deep architecture employs deep bidirectional long short-term memory network and attention mechanism to discover the latent representations of time-varying contextual information within the speech and recognize the significance of different information contributed to certain face status. Therefore, our model is able to drive different levels of facial movements at inference and automatically keep up with the corresponding pitch and latent speaking style in the input audio, with no assumption or further human intervention. Evaluation results show that our method could not only generate accurate lip movements from audio, but also successfully regress the speaker's time-varying facial movements.},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/1905.11142}
    }

  • Y. Yang, P. Geneva, X. Zuo, K. Eckenhoff, Y. Liu, and G. Huang, “Tightly-Coupled Aided Inertial Navigation with Point and Plane Features," in 2019 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2019, p. 6094–6100.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    This paper presents a tightly-coupled aided inertial navigation system (INS) with point and plane features, a general sensor fusion framework applicable to any visual and depth sensor (e.g., RGBD, LiDAR) configuration, in which the camera is used for point feature tracking and depth sensor for plane extraction. The proposed system exploits geometrical structures (planes) of the environments and adopts the closest point (CP) for plane parameterization. Moreover, we distinguish planar point features from non-planar point features in order to enforce point-on-plane constraints which are used in our state estimator, thus further exploiting structural information from the environment. We also introduce a simple but effective plane feature initialization algorithm for feature-based simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). In addition, we perform online spatial calibration between the IMU and the depth sensor as it is difficult to obtain this critical calibration parameter in high precision. Both Monte-Carlo simulations and real-world experiments are performed to validate the proposed approach.

    @inproceedings{yang2019tightlycoupledai,
    title = {Tightly-Coupled Aided Inertial Navigation with Point and Plane Features},
    author = {Yulin Yang and Patrick Geneva and Xingxing Zuo and Kevin Eckenhoff and Yong Liu and Guoquan Huang},
    year = 2019,
    booktitle = {2019 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)},
    pages = {6094--6100},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICRA.2019.8794078},
    abstract = {This paper presents a tightly-coupled aided inertial navigation system (INS) with point and plane features, a general sensor fusion framework applicable to any visual and depth sensor (e.g., RGBD, LiDAR) configuration, in which the camera is used for point feature tracking and depth sensor for plane extraction. The proposed system exploits geometrical structures (planes) of the environments and adopts the closest point (CP) for plane parameterization. Moreover, we distinguish planar point features from non-planar point features in order to enforce point-on-plane constraints which are used in our state estimator, thus further exploiting structural information from the environment. We also introduce a simple but effective plane feature initialization algorithm for feature-based simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). In addition, we perform online spatial calibration between the IMU and the depth sensor as it is difficult to obtain this critical calibration parameter in high precision. Both Monte-Carlo simulations and real-world experiments are performed to validate the proposed approach.}
    }

  • W. Ye, R. Zheng, F. Zhang, Z. Ouyang, and Y. Liu, “Robust and Efficient Vehicles Motion Estimation with Low-Cost Multi-Camera and Odometer-Gyroscope," in 2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2019, p. 4490–4496.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this paper, we present a robust and efficient estimation approach with multi-camera, odometer and gyroscope. Robust initialization, tightly-coupled optimization estimator and multi-camera loop-closure detection are utilized in the proposed approach. In initialization, the measurements of odometer and gyroscope are used to compute scale, and then estimate the bias of sensors. In estimator, the pre-integration of odometer and gyroscope is derived and combined with the measurements of multi-camera to estimate the motion in a tightly-coupled optimization framework. In loop-closure detection, a connection between different cameras of the vehicle can be built, which significantly improve the success rate of loop-closure detection. The proposed algorithm is validated in multiple real-world datasets collected in different places, time, weather and illumination. Experimental results show that the proposed approach can estimate the motion of vehicles robustly and efficiently.

    @inproceedings{ye2019robustae,
    title = {Robust and Efficient Vehicles Motion Estimation with Low-Cost Multi-Camera and Odometer-Gyroscope},
    author = {Wenlong Ye and Renjie Zheng and Fangqiang Zhang and Zizhou Ouyang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2019,
    booktitle = {2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
    pages = {4490--4496},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS40897.2019.8968048},
    abstract = {In this paper, we present a robust and efficient estimation approach with multi-camera, odometer and gyroscope. Robust initialization, tightly-coupled optimization estimator and multi-camera loop-closure detection are utilized in the proposed approach. In initialization, the measurements of odometer and gyroscope are used to compute scale, and then estimate the bias of sensors. In estimator, the pre-integration of odometer and gyroscope is derived and combined with the measurements of multi-camera to estimate the motion in a tightly-coupled optimization framework. In loop-closure detection, a connection between different cameras of the vehicle can be built, which significantly improve the success rate of loop-closure detection. The proposed algorithm is validated in multiple real-world datasets collected in different places, time, weather and illumination. Experimental results show that the proposed approach can estimate the motion of vehicles robustly and efficiently.}
    }

  • X. Zhao, R. Zheng, W. Ye, Y. Liu, and M. Li, “A Robust Stereo Semi-direct SLAM System Based on Hybrid Pyramid," in 2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2019, p. 5376–5382.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    We propose a hybrid pyramid based approach to fuse the direct and indirect methods in visual SLAM, to allow robust localization under various situations including large-baseline motion, low-texture environment, and various illumination changes. In our approach, we first calculate coarse inter-frame pose estimation by matching the feature points. Subsequently, we use both direct image alignment and a multiscale pyramid method, for refining the previous estimation to attain better precision. Furthermore, we perform online photometric calibration along with pose estimation, to reduce un-modelled errors. To evaluate our approach, we conducted various real-world experiments on both public datasets and self-collected ones, by implementing a full SLAM system with the proposed methods. The results show that our system improves both localization accuracy and robustness by a wide margin.

    @inproceedings{zhao2019ars,
    title = {A Robust Stereo Semi-direct SLAM System Based on Hybrid Pyramid},
    author = {Xiangrui Zhao and Renjie Zheng and Wenlong Ye and Yong Liu and Mingyang Li},
    year = 2019,
    booktitle = {2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
    pages = {5376--5382},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS40897.2019.8968008},
    abstract = {We propose a hybrid pyramid based approach to fuse the direct and indirect methods in visual SLAM, to allow robust localization under various situations including large-baseline motion, low-texture environment, and various illumination changes. In our approach, we first calculate coarse inter-frame pose estimation by matching the feature points. Subsequently, we use both direct image alignment and a multiscale pyramid method, for refining the previous estimation to attain better precision. Furthermore, we perform online photometric calibration along with pose estimation, to reduce un-modelled errors. To evaluate our approach, we conducted various real-world experiments on both public datasets and self-collected ones, by implementing a full SLAM system with the proposed methods. The results show that our system improves both localization accuracy and robustness by a wide margin.}
    }

  • X. Zuo, P. Geneva, W. Lee, Y. Liu, and G. Huang, “LIC-Fusion: LiDAR-Inertial-Camera Odometry," in 2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2019, p. 5848–5854.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    This paper presents a tightly-coupled multi-sensor fusion algorithm termed LiDAR-inertial-camera fusion (LIC-Fusion), which efficiently fuses IMU measurements, sparse visual features, and extracted LiDAR points. In particular, the proposed LIC-Fusion performs online spatial and temporal sensor calibration between all three asynchronous sensors, in order to compensate for possible calibration variations. The key contribution is the optimal (up to linearization errors) multi-modal sensor fusion of detected and tracked sparse edge/surf feature points from LiDAR scans within an efficient MSCKF-based framework, alongside sparse visual feature observations and IMU readings. We perform extensive experiments in both indoor and outdoor environments, showing that the proposed LIC-Fusion outperforms the state-of-the-art visual-inertial odometry (VIO) and LiDAR odometry methods in terms of estimation accuracy and robustness to aggressive motions.

    @inproceedings{zuo2019licfusionlo,
    title = {LIC-Fusion: LiDAR-Inertial-Camera Odometry},
    author = {Xingxing Zuo and Patrick Geneva and Woosik Lee and Yong Liu and Guoquan Huang},
    year = 2019,
    booktitle = {2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
    pages = {5848--5854},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS40897.2019.8967746},
    abstract = {This paper presents a tightly-coupled multi-sensor fusion algorithm termed LiDAR-inertial-camera fusion (LIC-Fusion), which efficiently fuses IMU measurements, sparse visual features, and extracted LiDAR points. In particular, the proposed LIC-Fusion performs online spatial and temporal sensor calibration between all three asynchronous sensors, in order to compensate for possible calibration variations. The key contribution is the optimal (up to linearization errors) multi-modal sensor fusion of detected and tracked sparse edge/surf feature points from LiDAR scans within an efficient MSCKF-based framework, alongside sparse visual feature observations and IMU readings. We perform extensive experiments in both indoor and outdoor environments, showing that the proposed LIC-Fusion outperforms the state-of-the-art visual-inertial odometry (VIO) and LiDAR odometry methods in terms of estimation accuracy and robustness to aggressive motions.},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/1909.04102}
    }

  • X. Zuo, M. Zhang, Y. Chen, Y. Liu, G. Huang, and M. Li, “Visual-Inertial Localization for Skid-Steering Robots with Kinematic Constraints," in 2019 The International Symposium on Robotics Research (ISRR), 2019.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [arXiv] [PDF]

    While visual localization or SLAM has witnessed great progress in past decades, when deploying it on a mobile robot in practice, few works have explicitly considered the kinematic (or dynamic) constraints of the real robotic system when designing state estimators. To promote the practical deployment of current state-of-the-art visual-inertial localization algorithms, in this work we propose a low-cost kinematics-constrained localization system particularly for a skid-steering mobile robot. In particular, we derive in a principle way the robot’s kinematic constraints based on the instantaneous centers of rotation (ICR) model and integrate them in a tightly-coupled manner into the sliding-window bundle adjustment (BA)-based visual-inertial estimator. Because the ICR model parameters are time-varying due to, for example, track-to-terrain interaction and terrain roughness, we estimate these kinematic parameters online along with the navigation state. To this end, we perform in-depth the observability analysis and identify motion conditions under which the state/parameter estimation is viable. The proposed kinematics-constrained visual-inertial localization system has been validated extensively in different terrain scenarios.

    @inproceedings{zuo2019visualinertiallf,
    title = {Visual-Inertial Localization for Skid-Steering Robots with Kinematic Constraints},
    author = {Xingxing Zuo and Mingming Zhang and Yiming Chen and Yong Liu and Guoquan Huang and Mingyang Li},
    year = 2019,
    booktitle = {2019 The International Symposium on Robotics Research (ISRR)},
    abstract = {While visual localization or SLAM has witnessed great progress in past decades, when deploying it on a mobile robot in practice, few works have explicitly considered the kinematic (or dynamic) constraints of the real robotic system when designing state estimators. To promote the practical deployment of current state-of-the-art visual-inertial localization algorithms, in this work we propose a low-cost kinematics-constrained localization system particularly for a skid-steering mobile robot. In particular, we derive in a principle way the robot's kinematic constraints based on the instantaneous centers of rotation (ICR) model and integrate them in a tightly-coupled manner into the sliding-window bundle adjustment (BA)-based visual-inertial estimator. Because the ICR model parameters are time-varying due to, for example, track-to-terrain interaction and terrain roughness, we estimate these kinematic parameters online along with the navigation state. To this end, we perform in-depth the observability analysis and identify motion conditions under which the state/parameter estimation is viable. The proposed kinematics-constrained visual-inertial localization system has been validated extensively in different terrain scenarios.},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/pdf/1911.05787.pdf}
    }

2018

  • W. Chen and Y. Liu, “Active Planning of Robot Navigation for 3D Scene Exploration," in 2018 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), 2018, p. 516–520.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    This work addresses the active planning of robot navigation tasks for 3D scene exploration. 3D scene exploration is an old and difficult task in robotics. In this paper, we present a strategy to guide a mobile autonomous robot equipped with a camera in order to autonomously explore the unknown 3D scene. By merging the particle filter into 3D scene exploration, we address the robot navigation problem in a heuristic way, and generate a sequence of camera poses to coverage the unknown 3D scene. First, we randomly generate a bunch of potential camera pose vectors. Then, we select the vectors through our criteria. After determining the first camera pose vector, we generate the next group of vectors based on the former one. We select the new camera pose vector and thereafter. We verify the algorithm theoretically and show the good performance in the simulation environment.

    @inproceedings{chen2018activepo,
    title = {Active Planning of Robot Navigation for 3D Scene Exploration},
    author = {Wenzhou Chen and Yong Liu},
    year = 2018,
    booktitle = {2018 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM)},
    pages = {516--520},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/AIM.2018.8452299},
    abstract = {This work addresses the active planning of robot navigation tasks for 3D scene exploration. 3D scene exploration is an old and difficult task in robotics. In this paper, we present a strategy to guide a mobile autonomous robot equipped with a camera in order to autonomously explore the unknown 3D scene. By merging the particle filter into 3D scene exploration, we address the robot navigation problem in a heuristic way, and generate a sequence of camera poses to coverage the unknown 3D scene. First, we randomly generate a bunch of potential camera pose vectors. Then, we select the vectors through our criteria. After determining the first camera pose vector, we generate the next group of vectors based on the former one. We select the new camera pose vector and thereafter. We verify the algorithm theoretically and show the good performance in the simulation environment.}
    }

  • J. Xu, J. Lv, Z. Pan, Y. Liu, and Y. Chen, “Real-Time LiDAR Data Assocation Aided by IMU in High Dynamic Environment," in 2018 IEEE International Conference on Real-time Computing and Robotics (RCAR), 2018, p. 202–205.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In recent years, with the breakthroughs in sensor technology, SLAM technology is developing towards high speed and high dynamic applications. The rotating multi line LiDAR sensor plays an important role. However, the rotating multi line LiDAR sensors need to restructure the data in high dynamic environment. Our work is to propose a LiDAR data correction method based on IMU and hardware synchronization, and make a hardware synchronization unit. This method can still output correct point cloud information when LiDAR sensor is moving violently.

    @inproceedings{xu2018realtimeld,
    title = {Real-Time LiDAR Data Assocation Aided by IMU in High Dynamic Environment},
    author = {Jinhong Xu and Jiajun Lv and Zaishen Pan and Yong Liu and Yinan Chen},
    year = 2018,
    booktitle = {2018 IEEE International Conference on Real-time Computing and Robotics (RCAR)},
    pages = {202--205},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/RCAR.2018.8621627},
    abstract = {In recent years, with the breakthroughs in sensor technology, SLAM technology is developing towards high speed and high dynamic applications. The rotating multi line LiDAR sensor plays an important role. However, the rotating multi line LiDAR sensors need to restructure the data in high dynamic environment. Our work is to propose a LiDAR data correction method based on IMU and hardware synchronization, and make a hardware synchronization unit. This method can still output correct point cloud information when LiDAR sensor is moving violently.}
    }

2017

  • Y. Liao, L. Huang, Y. Wang, S. Kodagoda, Y. Yu, and Y. Liu, “Parse geometry from a line: Monocular depth estimation with partial laser observation," in 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2017, p. 5059–5066.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Many standard robotic platforms are equipped with at least a fixed 2D laser range finder and a monocular camera. Although those platforms do not have sensors for 3D depth sensing capability, knowledge of depth is an essential part in many robotics activities. Therefore, recently, there is an increasing interest in depth estimation using monocular images. As this task is inherently ambiguous, the data-driven estimated depth might be unreliable in robotics applications. In this paper, we have attempted to improve the precision of monocular depth estimation by introducing 2D planar observation from the remaining laser range finder without extra cost. Specifically, we construct a dense reference map from the sparse laser range data, redefining the depth estimation task as estimating the distance between the real and the reference depth. To solve the problem, we construct a novel residual of residual neural network, and tightly combine the classification and regression losses for continuous depth estimation. Experimental results suggest that our method achieves considerable promotion compared to the state-of-the-art methods on both NYUD2 and KITTI, validating the effectiveness of our method on leveraging the additional sensory information. We further demonstrate the potential usage of our method in obstacle avoidance where our methodology provides comprehensive depth information compared to the solution using monocular camera or 2D laser range finder alone.

    @inproceedings{liao2017parsegf,
    title = {Parse geometry from a line: Monocular depth estimation with partial laser observation},
    author = {Yiyi Liao and Lichao Huang and Yue Wang and Sarath Kodagoda and Yinan Yu and Yong Liu},
    year = 2017,
    booktitle = {2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)},
    pages = {5059--5066},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICRA.2017.7989590},
    abstract = {Many standard robotic platforms are equipped with at least a fixed 2D laser range finder and a monocular camera. Although those platforms do not have sensors for 3D depth sensing capability, knowledge of depth is an essential part in many robotics activities. Therefore, recently, there is an increasing interest in depth estimation using monocular images. As this task is inherently ambiguous, the data-driven estimated depth might be unreliable in robotics applications. In this paper, we have attempted to improve the precision of monocular depth estimation by introducing 2D planar observation from the remaining laser range finder without extra cost. Specifically, we construct a dense reference map from the sparse laser range data, redefining the depth estimation task as estimating the distance between the real and the reference depth. To solve the problem, we construct a novel residual of residual neural network, and tightly combine the classification and regression losses for continuous depth estimation. Experimental results suggest that our method achieves considerable promotion compared to the state-of-the-art methods on both NYUD2 and KITTI, validating the effectiveness of our method on leveraging the additional sensory information. We further demonstrate the potential usage of our method in obstacle avoidance where our methodology provides comprehensive depth information compared to the solution using monocular camera or 2D laser range finder alone.}
    }

  • M. Wang, Y. Liu, and Z. Huang, “Large Margin Object Tracking with Circulant Feature Maps," in 2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2017, p. 4800–4808.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    Structured output support vector machine (SVM) based tracking algorithms have shown favorable performance recently. Nonetheless, the time-consuming candidate sampling and complex optimization limit their real-time applications. In this paper, we propose a novel large margin object tracking method which absorbs the strong discriminative ability from structured output SVM and speeds up by the correlation filter algorithm significantly. Secondly, a multimodal target detection technique is proposed to improve the target localization precision and prevent model drift introduced by similar objects or background noise. Thirdly, we exploit the feedback from high-confidence tracking results to avoid the model corruption problem. We implement two versions of the proposed tracker with the representations from both conventional hand-crafted and deep convolution neural networks (CNNs) based features to validate the strong compatibility of the algorithm. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed tracker performs superiorly against several state-of-the-art algorithms on the challenging benchmark sequences while runs at speed in excess of 80 frames per second.

    @inproceedings{wang2017largemo,
    title = {Large Margin Object Tracking with Circulant Feature Maps},
    author = {Mengmeng Wang and Yong Liu and Zeyi Huang},
    year = 2017,
    booktitle = {2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
    pages = {4800--4808},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/CVPR.2017.510},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/1703.05020},
    abstract = {Structured output support vector machine (SVM) based tracking algorithms have shown favorable performance recently. Nonetheless, the time-consuming candidate sampling and complex optimization limit their real-time applications. In this paper, we propose a novel large margin object tracking method which absorbs the strong discriminative ability from structured output SVM and speeds up by the correlation filter algorithm significantly. Secondly, a multimodal target detection technique is proposed to improve the target localization precision and prevent model drift introduced by similar objects or background noise. Thirdly, we exploit the feedback from high-confidence tracking results to avoid the model corruption problem. We implement two versions of the proposed tracker with the representations from both conventional hand-crafted and deep convolution neural networks (CNNs) based features to validate the strong compatibility of the algorithm. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed tracker performs superiorly against several state-of-the-art algorithms on the challenging benchmark sequences while runs at speed in excess of 80 frames per second.}
    }

  • M. Wang, D. Su, L. Shi, Y. Liu, and J. V. Miro, “Real-time 3D human tracking for mobile robots with multisensors," in 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2017, p. 5081–5087.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Acquiring the accurate 3-D position of a target person around a robot provides fundamental and valuable information that is applicable to a wide range of robotic tasks, including home service, navigation and entertainment. This paper presents a real-time robotic 3-D human tracking system which combines a monocular camera with an ultrasonic sensor by the extended Kalman filter (EKF). The proposed system consists of three sub-modules: monocular camera sensor tracking model, ultrasonic sensor tracking model and multi-sensor fusion. An improved visual tracking algorithm is presented to provide partial location estimation (2-D). The algorithm is designed to overcome severe occlusions, scale variation, target missing and achieve robust re-detection. The scale accuracy is further enhanced by the estimated 3-D information. An ultrasonic sensor array is employed to provide the range information from the target person to the robot and Gaussian Process Regression is used for partial location estimation (2-D). EKF is adopted to sequentially process multiple, heterogeneous measurements arriving in an asynchronous order from the vision sensor and the ultrasonic sensor separately. In the experiments, the proposed tracking system is tested in both simulation platform and actual mobile robot for various indoor and outdoor scenes. The experimental results show the superior performance of the 3-D tracking system in terms of both the accuracy and robustness.

    @inproceedings{wang2017realtime3h,
    title = {Real-time 3D human tracking for mobile robots with multisensors},
    author = {Mengmeng Wang and Daobilige Su and Lei Shi and Yong Liu and Jaime Valls Miro},
    year = 2017,
    booktitle = {2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)},
    pages = {5081--5087},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICRA.2017.7989593},
    abstract = {Acquiring the accurate 3-D position of a target person around a robot provides fundamental and valuable information that is applicable to a wide range of robotic tasks, including home service, navigation and entertainment. This paper presents a real-time robotic 3-D human tracking system which combines a monocular camera with an ultrasonic sensor by the extended Kalman filter (EKF). The proposed system consists of three sub-modules: monocular camera sensor tracking model, ultrasonic sensor tracking model and multi-sensor fusion. An improved visual tracking algorithm is presented to provide partial location estimation (2-D). The algorithm is designed to overcome severe occlusions, scale variation, target missing and achieve robust re-detection. The scale accuracy is further enhanced by the estimated 3-D information. An ultrasonic sensor array is employed to provide the range information from the target person to the robot and Gaussian Process Regression is used for partial location estimation (2-D). EKF is adopted to sequentially process multiple, heterogeneous measurements arriving in an asynchronous order from the vision sensor and the ultrasonic sensor separately. In the experiments, the proposed tracking system is tested in both simulation platform and actual mobile robot for various indoor and outdoor scenes. The experimental results show the superior performance of the 3-D tracking system in terms of both the accuracy and robustness.}
    }

  • K. Wu, X. Li, R. Ranasinghe, G. Dissanayake, and Y. Liu, “RISAS: A novel rotation, illumination, scale invariant appearance and shape feature," in 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2017, p. 4008–4015.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    This paper presents a novel appearance and shape feature, RISAS, which is robust to viewpoint, illumination, scale and rotation variations. RISAS consists of a keypoint detector and a feature descriptor both of which utilise texture and geometric information present in the appearance and shape channels. A novel response function based on the surface normals is used in combination with the Harris corner detector for selecting keypoints in the scene. A strategy that uses the depth information for scale estimation and background elimination is proposed to select the neighbourhood around the keypoints in order to build precise invariant descriptors. Proposed descriptor relies on the ordering of both grayscale intensity and shape information in the neighbourhood. Comprehensive experiments which confirm the effectiveness of the proposed RGB-D feature when compared with CSHOT [1] and LOIND[2] are presented. Furthermore, we highlight the utility of incorporating texture and shape information in the design of both the detector and the descriptor by demonstrating the enhanced performance of CSHOT and LOIND when combined with RISAS detector.

    @inproceedings{wu2017risasan,
    title = {RISAS: A novel rotation, illumination, scale invariant appearance and shape feature},
    author = {Kanzhi Wu and Xiaoyang Li and Ravindra Ranasinghe and Gamini Dissanayake and Yong Liu},
    year = 2017,
    booktitle = {2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)},
    pages = {4008--4015},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/icra.2017.7989461},
    abstract = {This paper presents a novel appearance and shape feature, RISAS, which is robust to viewpoint, illumination, scale and rotation variations. RISAS consists of a keypoint detector and a feature descriptor both of which utilise texture and geometric information present in the appearance and shape channels. A novel response function based on the surface normals is used in combination with the Harris corner detector for selecting keypoints in the scene. A strategy that uses the depth information for scale estimation and background elimination is proposed to select the neighbourhood around the keypoints in order to build precise invariant descriptors. Proposed descriptor relies on the ordering of both grayscale intensity and shape information in the neighbourhood. Comprehensive experiments which confirm the effectiveness of the proposed RGB-D feature when compared with CSHOT [1] and LOIND[2] are presented. Furthermore, we highlight the utility of incorporating texture and shape information in the design of both the detector and the descriptor by demonstrating the enhanced performance of CSHOT and LOIND when combined with RISAS detector.}
    }

  • X. Zuo, X. Xie, Y. Liu, and G. Huang, “Robust visual SLAM with point and line features," in 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2017, p. 1775–1782.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    In this paper, we develop a robust efficient visual SLAM system that utilizes heterogeneous point and line features. By leveraging ORB-SLAM [1], the proposed system consists of stereo matching, frame tracking, local mapping, loop detection, and bundle adjustment of both point and line features. In particular, as the main theoretical contributions of this paper, we, for the first time, employ the orthonormal representation as the minimal parameterization to model line features along with point features in visual SLAM and analytically derive the Jacobians of the re-projection errors with respect to the line parameters, which significantly improves the SLAM solution. The proposed SLAM has been extensively tested in both synthetic and real-world experiments whose results demonstrate that the proposed system outperforms the state-of-the-art methods in various scenarios.

    @inproceedings{zuo2017robustvs,
    title = {Robust visual SLAM with point and line features},
    author = {Xingxing Zuo and Xiaojia Xie and Yong Liu and Guoquan Huang},
    year = 2017,
    booktitle = {2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
    pages = {1775--1782},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS.2017.8205991},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/1711.08654},
    abstract = {In this paper, we develop a robust efficient visual SLAM system that utilizes heterogeneous point and line features. By leveraging ORB-SLAM [1], the proposed system consists of stereo matching, frame tracking, local mapping, loop detection, and bundle adjustment of both point and line features. In particular, as the main theoretical contributions of this paper, we, for the first time, employ the orthonormal representation as the minimal parameterization to model line features along with point features in visual SLAM and analytically derive the Jacobians of the re-projection errors with respect to the line parameters, which significantly improves the SLAM solution. The proposed SLAM has been extensively tested in both synthetic and real-world experiments whose results demonstrate that the proposed system outperforms the state-of-the-art methods in various scenarios.}
    }

2016

  • Y. Liao, S. Kodagoda, Y. Wang, L. Shi, and Y. Liu, “Understand scene categories by objects: A semantic regularized scene classifier using Convolutional Neural Networks," in 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2016, p. 2318–2325.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    Scene classification is a fundamental perception task for environmental understanding in today’s robotics. In this paper, we have attempted to exploit the use of popular machine learning technique of deep learning to enhance scene understanding, particularly in robotics applications. As scene images have larger diversity than the iconic object images, it is more challenging for deep learning methods to automatically learn features from scene images with less samples. Inspired by human scene understanding based on object knowledge, we address the problem of scene classification by encouraging deep neural networks to incorporate object-level information. This is implemented with a regularization of semantic segmentation. With only 5 thousand training images, as opposed to 2.5 million images, we show the proposed deep architecture achieves superior scene classification results to the state-of-the-art on a publicly available SUN RGB-D dataset. In addition, performance of semantic segmentation, the regularizer, also reaches a new record with refinement derived from predicted scene labels. Finally, we apply our model trained on SUN RGB-D dataset to a set of images captured in our university using a mobile robot, demonstrating the generalization ability of the proposed algorithm.

    @inproceedings{liao2016understandsc,
    title = {Understand scene categories by objects: A semantic regularized scene classifier using Convolutional Neural Networks},
    author = {Yiyi Liao and Sarath Kodagoda and Yue Wang and Lei Shi and Yong Liu},
    year = 2016,
    booktitle = {2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)},
    pages = {2318--2325},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICRA.2016.7487381},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/pdf/1509.06470.pdf},
    abstract = {Scene classification is a fundamental perception task for environmental understanding in today's robotics. In this paper, we have attempted to exploit the use of popular machine learning technique of deep learning to enhance scene understanding, particularly in robotics applications. As scene images have larger diversity than the iconic object images, it is more challenging for deep learning methods to automatically learn features from scene images with less samples. Inspired by human scene understanding based on object knowledge, we address the problem of scene classification by encouraging deep neural networks to incorporate object-level information. This is implemented with a regularization of semantic segmentation. With only 5 thousand training images, as opposed to 2.5 million images, we show the proposed deep architecture achieves superior scene classification results to the state-of-the-art on a publicly available SUN RGB-D dataset. In addition, performance of semantic segmentation, the regularizer, also reaches a new record with refinement derived from predicted scene labels. Finally, we apply our model trained on SUN RGB-D dataset to a set of images captured in our university using a mobile robot, demonstrating the generalization ability of the proposed algorithm.}
    }

  • M. Wang, Y. Liu, and R. Xiong, “Robust object tracking with a hierarchical ensemble framework," in 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2016, p. 438–445.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [arXiv] [PDF]

    Autonomous robots enjoy a wide popularity nowadays and have been applied in many applications, such as home security, entertainment, delivery, navigation and guidance. It is vital for robots to track objects accurately in real time in these applications, so it is necessary to focus on tracking algorithms to improve the robustness, speed and accuracy. In this paper, we propose a real-time robust object tracking algorithm based on a hierarchical ensemble framework which incorporates information including individual pixel features, local patches and holistic target models. The framework combines multiple ensemble models simultaneously instead of using a single ensemble model individually. A discriminative model which accounts for the matching degree of local patches is adopted via a bottom ensemble layer, and a generative model which exploits holistic templates is used to search for the object based on the middle ensemble layer as well as an adaptive Kalman filter. We test the proposed tracker on challenging benchmark image sequences. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed tracker performs superiorly against several state-of-the-art algorithms, especially when the appearance changes dramatically and the occlusions occur.

    @inproceedings{wang2016robustot,
    title = {Robust object tracking with a hierarchical ensemble framework},
    author = {Mengmeng Wang and Yong Liu and Rong Xiong},
    year = 2016,
    booktitle = {2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
    pages = {438--445},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS.2016.7759091},
    arxiv = {http://arxiv.org/pdf/1509.06925},
    abstract = {Autonomous robots enjoy a wide popularity nowadays and have been applied in many applications, such as home security, entertainment, delivery, navigation and guidance. It is vital for robots to track objects accurately in real time in these applications, so it is necessary to focus on tracking algorithms to improve the robustness, speed and accuracy. In this paper, we propose a real-time robust object tracking algorithm based on a hierarchical ensemble framework which incorporates information including individual pixel features, local patches and holistic target models. The framework combines multiple ensemble models simultaneously instead of using a single ensemble model individually. A discriminative model which accounts for the matching degree of local patches is adopted via a bottom ensemble layer, and a generative model which exploits holistic templates is used to search for the object based on the middle ensemble layer as well as an adaptive Kalman filter. We test the proposed tracker on challenging benchmark image sequences. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed tracker performs superiorly against several state-of-the-art algorithms, especially when the appearance changes dramatically and the occlusions occur.}
    }

2015

  • G. Feng, Y. Liu, and Y. Liao, “LOIND: An illumination and scale invariant RGB-D descriptor," in 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2015, p. 1893–1898.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    We introduce a novel RGB-D descriptor called local ordinal intensity and normal descriptor (LOIND) with the integration of texture information in RGB image and geometric information in depth image. We implement the descriptor with a 3-D histogram supported by orders of intensities and angles between normal vectors, in addition with the spatial sub-divisions. The former ordering information which is invariant under the transformation of illumination, scale and rotation provides the robustness of our descriptor, while the latter spatial distribution provides higher information capacity so that the discriminative performance is promoted. Comparable experiments with the state-of-art descriptors, e.g. SIFT, SURF, CSHOT and BRAND, show the effectiveness of our LOIND to the complex illumination changes and scale transformation. We also provide a new method to estimate the dominant orientation with only the geometric information, which can ensure the rotation invariance under extremely poor illumination.

    @inproceedings{feng2015loindai,
    title = {LOIND: An illumination and scale invariant RGB-D descriptor},
    author = {Guanghua Feng and Yong Liu and Yiyi Liao},
    year = 2015,
    booktitle = {2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)},
    pages = {1893--1898},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICRA.2015.7139445},
    abstract = {We introduce a novel RGB-D descriptor called local ordinal intensity and normal descriptor (LOIND) with the integration of texture information in RGB image and geometric information in depth image. We implement the descriptor with a 3-D histogram supported by orders of intensities and angles between normal vectors, in addition with the spatial sub-divisions. The former ordering information which is invariant under the transformation of illumination, scale and rotation provides the robustness of our descriptor, while the latter spatial distribution provides higher information capacity so that the discriminative performance is promoted. Comparable experiments with the state-of-art descriptors, e.g. SIFT, SURF, CSHOT and BRAND, show the effectiveness of our LOIND to the complex illumination changes and scale transformation. We also provide a new method to estimate the dominant orientation with only the geometric information, which can ensure the rotation invariance under extremely poor illumination.}
    }

  • Y. Wang, J. Cai, Y. Wang, Y. Hu, R. Xiong, Y. Liu, J. Zhang, and L. Qi, “Probabilistic graph based spatial assembly relation inference for programming of assembly task by demonstration," in 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2015, p. 4402–4407.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In robot programming by demonstration (PBD) for assembly tasks, one of the important topics is to inference the poses and spatial relations of parts during the demonstration. In this paper, we propose a world model called assembly graph (AG) to achieve this task. The model is able to represent the poses of all parts, the relations, observations provided by vision techniques and prior knowledge in a unified probabilistic graph. Then the problem is stated as likelihood maximization estimation of pose parameters with the relations being the latent variables. Classification expectation maximization algorithm (CEM) is employed to solve the model. Besides, the contradiction between relations is incorporated as prior knowledge to better shape the posterior, thus guiding the algorithm find a more accurate solution. In experiments, both simulated and real world datasets are applied to evaluate the performance of our proposed method. The experimental results show that the AG gives better accuracy than the relations as deterministic variables (RDV) employed in some previous works due to the robustness and global consistency. Finally, the solution is implemented into a PBD system with ABB industrial robotic arm simulator as the execution stage, succeeding in real world captured assembly tasks.

    @inproceedings{wang2015probabilisticgb,
    title = {Probabilistic graph based spatial assembly relation inference for programming of assembly task by demonstration},
    author = {Yue Wang and Jie Cai and Yabiao Wang and Youzhong Hu and Rong Xiong and Yong Liu and Jiafan Zhang and Liwei Qi},
    year = 2015,
    booktitle = {2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
    pages = {4402--4407},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS.2015.7354002},
    abstract = {In robot programming by demonstration (PBD) for assembly tasks, one of the important topics is to inference the poses and spatial relations of parts during the demonstration. In this paper, we propose a world model called assembly graph (AG) to achieve this task. The model is able to represent the poses of all parts, the relations, observations provided by vision techniques and prior knowledge in a unified probabilistic graph. Then the problem is stated as likelihood maximization estimation of pose parameters with the relations being the latent variables. Classification expectation maximization algorithm (CEM) is employed to solve the model. Besides, the contradiction between relations is incorporated as prior knowledge to better shape the posterior, thus guiding the algorithm find a more accurate solution. In experiments, both simulated and real world datasets are applied to evaluate the performance of our proposed method. The experimental results show that the AG gives better accuracy than the relations as deterministic variables (RDV) employed in some previous works due to the robustness and global consistency. Finally, the solution is implemented into a PBD system with ABB industrial robotic arm simulator as the execution stage, succeeding in real world captured assembly tasks.}
    }

  • Q. Zhang, Y. Liu, Y. Liao, and Y. Wang, “Traversable region detection with a learning framework," in 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2015, p. 1678–1683.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    In this paper, we present a novel learning framework for traversable region detection. Firstly, we construct features from the super-pixel level which can reduce the computational cost compared to pixel level. Multi-scale super-pixels are extracted to give consideration to both outline and detail information. Then we classify the multiple-scale super-pixels and merge the labels in pixel level. Meanwhile, we use weighted ELM as our classifier which can deal with the imbalanced class distribution since we only assume that a small region in front of robot is traversable at the beginning of learning. Finally, we employ the online learning process so that our framework can be adaptive to varied scenes. Experimental results on three different style of image sequences, i.e. shadow road, rain sequence and variational sequence, demonstrate the adaptability, stability and parameter insensitivity of our method to the varied scenes and complex illumination.

    @inproceedings{zhang2015traversablerd,
    title = {Traversable region detection with a learning framework},
    author = {Qinquan Zhang and Yong Liu and Yiyi Liao and Yue Wang},
    year = 2015,
    booktitle = {2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)},
    pages = {1678--1683},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICRA.2015.7139413},
    abstract = {In this paper, we present a novel learning framework for traversable region detection. Firstly, we construct features from the super-pixel level which can reduce the computational cost compared to pixel level. Multi-scale super-pixels are extracted to give consideration to both outline and detail information. Then we classify the multiple-scale super-pixels and merge the labels in pixel level. Meanwhile, we use weighted ELM as our classifier which can deal with the imbalanced class distribution since we only assume that a small region in front of robot is traversable at the beginning of learning. Finally, we employ the online learning process so that our framework can be adaptive to varied scenes. Experimental results on three different style of image sequences, i.e. shadow road, rain sequence and variational sequence, demonstrate the adaptability, stability and parameter insensitivity of our method to the varied scenes and complex illumination.}
    }

2014

  • Y. Liao, Y. Wang, and Y. Liu, “Image Representation Learning Using Graph Regularized Auto-Encoders," in 2nd International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR), 2014.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [arXiv] [PDF]

    We consider the problem of image representation for the tasks of unsupervised learning and semi-supervised learning. In those learning tasks, the raw image vectors may not provide enough representation for their intrinsic structures due to their highly dense feature space. To overcome this problem, the raw image vectors should be mapped to a proper representation space which can capture the latent structure of the original data and represent the data explicitly for further learning tasks such as clustering. Inspired by the recent research works on deep neural network and representation learning, in this paper, we introduce the multiple-layer auto-encoder into image representation, we also apply the locally invariant ideal to our image representation with auto-encoders and propose a novel method, called Graph regularized Auto-Encoder (GAE). GAE can provide a compact representation which uncovers the hidden semantics and simultaneously respects the intrinsic geometric structure. Extensive experiments on image clustering show encouraging results of the proposed algorithm in comparison to the state-of-the-art algorithms on real-word cases.

    @inproceedings{liao2014imagerl,
    title = {Image Representation Learning Using Graph Regularized Auto-Encoders},
    author = {Yiyi Liao and Yue Wang and Yong Liu},
    year = 2014,
    booktitle = {2nd International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR)},
    arxiv = {https://arxiv.org/pdf/1312.0786.pdf},
    abstract = {We consider the problem of image representation for the tasks of unsupervised learning and semi-supervised learning. In those learning tasks, the raw image vectors may not provide enough representation for their intrinsic structures due to their highly dense feature space. To overcome this problem, the raw image vectors should be mapped to a proper representation space which can capture the latent structure of the original data and represent the data explicitly for further learning tasks such as clustering. Inspired by the recent research works on deep neural network and representation learning, in this paper, we introduce the multiple-layer auto-encoder into image representation, we also apply the locally invariant ideal to our image representation with auto-encoders and propose a novel method, called Graph regularized Auto-Encoder (GAE). GAE can provide a compact representation which uncovers the hidden semantics and simultaneously respects the intrinsic geometric structure. Extensive experiments on image clustering show encouraging results of the proposed algorithm in comparison to the state-of-the-art algorithms on real-word cases.}
    }

  • Q. Xie, Y. Liu, R. Xiong, and J. Chu, “Real-time accurate ball trajectory estimation with “asynchronous” stereo camera system for humanoid Ping-Pong robot," in 2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2014, p. 6212–6217.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Temporal asynchrony between two cameras in the vision system is a usual problem in practice. In some vision task such as estimating fast moving targets, the estimation error caused by the tiny temporal asynchrony will become non-ignorable essentials. This paper will address on the asynchrony in the stereo vision system of humanoid Ping-Pong robot, and present a real-time accurate Ping-Pong ball trajectory estimation algorithm. In our approach, the complex Ping-Pong ball motion model is simplified by a polynomial parameter function of time t due to the limited observing time interval and the requirement of real-time computation. We then use the perspective projection camera model to re-project the ball’s parameter function on time t into its image coordinates on both cameras. Based on the assumption that the time gap of two asynchronous cameras will maintain a const during very short time interval, we can obtain the time gap value and also the trajectory parameters of the Ping-Pong ball in a short time interval by minimizing the errors between the images of the ball in each camera and their re-projection images from the modeled parameter function on time t. Comprehensive experiments on real Ping-Pong robot cases are carried out, the results show our approach is more proper for the vision system of humanoid Ping-Pong robot, when concerning the accuracy and real-time performance simultaneously.

    @inproceedings{xie2014realtimeab,
    title = {Real-time accurate ball trajectory estimation with “asynchronous” stereo camera system for humanoid Ping-Pong robot},
    author = {Qi Xie and Yong Liu and Rong Xiong and Jian Chu},
    year = 2014,
    booktitle = {2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)},
    pages = {6212--6217},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ICRA.2014.6907775},
    abstract = {Temporal asynchrony between two cameras in the vision system is a usual problem in practice. In some vision task such as estimating fast moving targets, the estimation error caused by the tiny temporal asynchrony will become non-ignorable essentials. This paper will address on the asynchrony in the stereo vision system of humanoid Ping-Pong robot, and present a real-time accurate Ping-Pong ball trajectory estimation algorithm. In our approach, the complex Ping-Pong ball motion model is simplified by a polynomial parameter function of time t due to the limited observing time interval and the requirement of real-time computation. We then use the perspective projection camera model to re-project the ball's parameter function on time t into its image coordinates on both cameras. Based on the assumption that the time gap of two asynchronous cameras will maintain a const during very short time interval, we can obtain the time gap value and also the trajectory parameters of the Ping-Pong ball in a short time interval by minimizing the errors between the images of the ball in each camera and their re-projection images from the modeled parameter function on time t. Comprehensive experiments on real Ping-Pong robot cases are carried out, the results show our approach is more proper for the vision system of humanoid Ping-Pong robot, when concerning the accuracy and real-time performance simultaneously.}
    }

2011

  • R. Xiong, L. Yong, and H. Zheng, “A humanoid robot for table tennis playing," in 2011 IEEE Workshop on Advanced Robotics and Its Social Impacts (ARSO), 2011, p. 66–67.
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [DOI] [PDF]

    Humanoid robot has been one of the most active research topics in the field of robotics. Their human-like form and configuration gives it advantages in working in human-interactive environment. The bipedal walking capability makes them possible to step over and onto obstacles, providing accessibility and mobility in cluttered space. The multi-DOF design of arms and legs enables them assist or replace humans in their normal tasks, making human life easier and safer. Humanoid robots, with their human-like outlook, also bring better interactive experience and are expect to play a part in people’s daily life and help the elderly and the children.

    @inproceedings{xiong2011ahr,
    title = {A humanoid robot for table tennis playing},
    author = {Rong Xiong and Long Yong and Hongbo Zheng},
    year = 2011,
    booktitle = {2011 IEEE Workshop on Advanced Robotics and Its Social Impacts (ARSO)},
    pages = {66--67},
    doi = {https://doi.org/10.1109/ARSO.2011.6301960},
    abstract = {Humanoid robot has been one of the most active research topics in the field of robotics. Their human-like form and configuration gives it advantages in working in human-interactive environment. The bipedal walking capability makes them possible to step over and onto obstacles, providing accessibility and mobility in cluttered space. The multi-DOF design of arms and legs enables them assist or replace humans in their normal tasks, making human life easier and safer. Humanoid robots, with their human-like outlook, also bring better interactive experience and are expect to play a part in people's daily life and help the elderly and the children.}
    }

2018

  • 廖依伊. 刘勇, 正则化深度学习及其在机器人环境感知中的应用, 科学出版社, 2018.
    [BibTeX]
    @book{正则化深度学习及其在机器人环境感知中的应用,
    title = {正则化深度学习及其在机器人环境感知中的应用},
    author = {刘勇, 廖依伊},
    year = 2018,
    publisher = {科学出版社}
    }