skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Ancha, Siddharth"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. To safely navigate unknown environments; robots must accurately perceive dynamic obstacles. Instead of directly measuring the scene depth with a LiDAR sensor; we explore the use of a much cheaper and higher resolution sensor: programmable light curtains. Light curtains are controllable depth sensors that sense only along a surface that a user selects. We use light curtains to estimate the safety envelope of a scene: a hypothetical surface that separates the robot from all obstacles. We show that generating light curtains that sense random locations (from a particular distribution) can quickly discover the safety envelope for scenes with unknown objects. Importantly; we produce theoretical safety guarantees on the probability of detecting an obstacle using random curtains. We combine random curtains with a machine learning based model that forecasts and tracks the motion of the safety envelope efficiently. Our method accurately estimates safety envelopes while providing probabilistic safety guarantees that can be used to certify the efficacy of a robot perception system to detect and avoid dynamic obstacles. We evaluate our approach in a simulated urban driving environment and a real-world environment with moving pedestrians using a light curtain device and show that we can estimate safety envelopes efficiently and effectively.
  2. Active sensing through the use of Adaptive Depth Sensors is a nascent field, with potential in areas such as Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). They do however require dynamically driving a laser / light-source to a specific location to capture information, with one such class of sensor being the Triangulation Light Curtains (LC). In this work, we introduce a novel approach that exploits prior depth distributions from RGB cameras to drive a Light Curtain’s laser line to regions of uncertainty to get new measurements. These measurements are utilized such that depth uncertainty is reduced and errors get corrected recursively. We show real-world experiments that validate our approach in outdoor and driving settings, and demonstrate qualitative and quantitative improvements in depth RMSE when RGB cameras are used in tandem with a Light Curtain.
  3. 3D object trackers usually require training on large amounts of annotated data that is expensive and time-consuming to collect. Instead, we propose leveraging vast unlabeled datasets by self-supervised metric learning of 3D object trackers, with a focus on data association. Large scale annotations for unlabeled data are cheaply obtained by automatic object detection and association across frames. We show how these self-supervised annotations can be used in a principled manner to learn point-cloud embeddings that are effective for 3D tracking. We estimate and incorporate uncertainty in self-supervised tracking to learn more robust embeddings, without needing any labeled data. We design embeddings to differentiate objects across frames, and learn them using uncertainty-aware self-supervised training. Finally, we demonstrate their ability to perform accurate data association across frames, towards effective and accurate 3D tracking.
  4. Deep learning object detectors often return false positives with very high confidence. Although they optimize generic detection performance, such as mean average precision (mAP), they are not designed for reliability. For a re- liable detection system, if a high confidence detection is made, we would want high certainty that the object has indeed been detected. To achieve this, we have developed a set of verification tests which a proposed detection must pass to be accepted. We develop a theoretical framework which proves that, under certain assumptions, our verification tests will not accept any false positives. Based on an approximation to this framework, we present a practical detection system that can verify, with high precision, whether each detection of a machine-learning based object detector is correct. We show that these tests can improve the overall accu- racy of a base detector and that accepted examples are highly likely to be correct. This allows the detector to operate in a high precision regime and can thus be used for robotic perception systems as a reliable instance detection method.
  5. Most real-world 3D sensors such as LiDARs perform fixed scans of the entire environment, while being decoupled from the recognition system that processes the sensor data. In this work, we propose a method for 3D object recognition using light curtains, a resource-efficient controllable sensor that measures depth at user-specified locations in the environment. Crucially, we propose using prediction uncertainty of a deep learning based 3D point cloud detector to guide active perception. Given a neural network's uncertainty, we derive an optimization objective to place light curtains using the principle of maximizing information gain. Then, we develop a novel and efficient optimization algorithm to maximize this objective by encoding the physical constraints of the device into a constraint graph and optimizing with dynamic programming. We show how a 3D detector can be trained to detect objects in a scene by sequentially placing uncertainty-guided light curtains to successively improve detection accuracy.