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Perception architecture exploration for automotive cyber-physical systems




Dey, Joydeep, author
Pasricha, Sudeep, advisor
Jayasumana, Anura, committee member
Wyndom, Brett, committee member

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In emerging autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, accurate environmental perception by automotive cyber physical platforms are critical for achieving safety and driving performance goals. An efficient perception solution capable of high fidelity environment modeling can improve Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) performance and reduce the number of lives lost to traffic accidents as a result of human driving errors. Enabling robust perception for vehicles with ADAS requires solving multiple complex problems related to the selection and placement of sensors, object detection, and sensor fusion. Current methods address these problems in isolation, which leads to inefficient solutions. For instance, there is an inherent accuracy versus latency trade-off between one stage and two stage object detectors which makes selecting an enhanced object detector from a diverse range of choices difficult. Further, even if a perception architecture was equipped with an ideal object detector performing high accuracy and low latency inference, the relative position and orientation of selected sensors (e.g., cameras, radars, lidars) determine whether static or dynamic targets are inside the field of view of each sensor or in the combined field of view of the sensor configuration. If the combined field of view is too small or contains redundant overlap between individual sensors, important events and obstacles can go undetected. Conversely, if the combined field of view is too large, the number of false positive detections will be high in real time and appropriate sensor fusion algorithms are required for filtering. Sensor fusion algorithms also enable tracking of non-ego vehicles in situations where traffic is highly dynamic or there are many obstacles on the road. Position and velocity estimation using sensor fusion algorithms have a lower margin for error when trajectories of other vehicles in traffic are in the vicinity of the ego vehicle, as incorrect measurement can cause accidents. Due to the various complex inter-dependencies between design decisions, constraints and optimization goals a framework capable of synthesizing perception solutions for automotive cyber physical platforms is not trivial. We present a novel perception architecture exploration framework for automotive cyber- physical platforms capable of global co-optimization of deep learning and sensing infrastructure. The framework is capable of exploring the synthesis of heterogeneous sensor configurations towards achieving vehicle autonomy goals. As our first contribution, we propose a novel optimization framework called VESPA that explores the design space of sensor placement locations and orientations to find the optimal sensor configuration for a vehicle. We demonstrate how our framework can obtain optimal sensor configurations for heterogeneous sensors deployed across two contemporary real vehicles. We then utilize VESPA to create a comprehensive perception architecture synthesis framework called PASTA. This framework enables robust perception for vehicles with ADAS requiring solutions to multiple complex problems related not only to the selection and placement of sensors but also object detection, and sensor fusion as well. Experimental results with the Audi-TT and BMW Minicooper vehicles show how PASTA can intelligently traverse the perception design space to find robust, vehicle-specific solutions.


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object detection
sensor fusion
machine learning
sensor placement


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