press release
Published: 31 May 2018

Surrey AI team wins prestigious Google Landmark Retrieval Challenge

Professor Miroslaw Bober and his team (Mikel Bober-Irizar and Dr Sameed Husain) from Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP) at the University of Surrey have won the fiercely competitive Google Landmark Retrieval Challenge.   

University of Surrey AI Team stood outside the Stag Hill campus lake
Credit: Maggie Kosek

The challenge was to develop the world’s most accurate AI technology to automatically identify landmarks and retrieve relevant photographs from a database. Evaluation was performed on the largest dataset for image retrieval, comprising more than one million photos with 15,000 different landmarks including hotels, bridges, statues and many more. The competition was based on the Kaggle platform, with 218 teams participating worldwide.

The team from CVSSP has developed their advanced visual recognition technology for the iTravel (InnovateUK) project. iTravel is a smartphone-based intelligent "virtual journey assistant", providing end-to-end routing with proactive contextual information to the traveller, including real-time visual recognition through the smartphone's camera. It will allow users to get a visual fix on their position and see an augmented view of their surroundings. CVSSP is currently testing this technology in Guildford, Surrey, where it has extensively mapped the area.  

Miroslaw Bober, Professor of Video Processing at CVSSP, said: “Real-time recognition of landmarks, objects and actions in images and video is crucial for many applications, and it will only grow in importance as AI systems proliferate. We had always suspected that our recognition technology is world-leading and, by winning this challenge, we now have the proof to state this claim.”

Professor Adrian Hilton, Director of CVSSP, said: “I want to thank Miroslaw and his team for their relentless hard work on the iTravel project during the Landmark Retrieval Challenge. This is yet another example of why CVSSP is a centre for excellence in machine learning and artificial intelligence and I am confident that this is only the tip of the iceberg."

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