We approach instantaneous mapping, converting images to a top-down view of the world, as a translation problem. We show how a novel form of transformer network can be used to map from images and video directly to an overhead map or bird's-eye-view (BEV) of the world, in a single end-to-end network. We assume a 1-1 correspondence between a vertical scanline in the image, and rays passing through the camera location in an overhead map. This lets us formulate map generation from an image as a set of sequence-to-sequence translations. Posing the problem as translation allows the network to use the context of the image when interpreting the role of each pixel. This constrained formulation, based upon a strong physical grounding of the problem, leads to a restricted transformer network that is convolutional in the horizontal direction only. The structure allows us to make efficient use of data when training, and obtains state-of-the-art results for instantaneous mapping of three large-scale datasets, including a 15% and 30% relative gain against existing best performing methods on the nuScenes and Argoverse datasets, respectively.
Estimating a semantically segmented bird's-eye-view (BEV) map from a single image has become a popular technique for autonomous control and navigation. However, they show an increase in localization error with distance from the camera. While such an increase in error is entirely expected – localization is harder at distance – much of the drop in performance can be attributed to the cues used by current texture-based models, in particular, they make heavy use of object-ground intersections (such as shadows) , which become increasingly sparse and uncertain for distant objects. In this work, we address these shortcomings in BEV-mapping by learning the spatial relationship between objects in a scene. We propose a graph neural network which predicts BEV objects from a monocular image by spatially reasoning about an object within the context of other objects. Our approach sets a new state-of-the-art in BEV estimation from monocular images across three large-scale datasets, including a 50% relative improvement for objects on nuScenes.