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  1. The uncertainty quantification of prediction mod- els (e.g., neural networks) is crucial for their adoption in many robotics applications. This is arguably as important as making accurate predictions, especially for safety-critical applications such as self-driving cars. This paper proposes our approach to uncertainty quantification in the context of visual localization for autonomous driving, where we predict locations from images. Our proposed framework estimates probabilistic uncertainty by creating a sensor error model that maps an inter- nal output of the prediction model to the uncertainty. The sensor error model is created using multiple image databases of visual localization, each with ground-truth location. We demonstrate the accuracy of our uncertainty prediction framework using the Ithaca365 dataset, which includes variations in lighting, weather (sunny, snowy, night), and alignment errors between databases. We analyze both the predicted uncertainty and its incorporation into a Kalman-based localization filter. Our results show that prediction error variations increase with poor weather and lighting condition, leading to greater uncertainty and outliers, which can be predicted by our proposed uncertainty model. Additionally, our probabilistic error model enables the filter to remove ad hoc sensor gating, as the uncertainty automatically adjusts the model to the input data. 
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  2. A self-driving car must be able to reliably handle adverse weather conditions (e.g., snowy) to operate safely. In this paper, we investigate the idea of turning sensor inputs (i.e., images) captured in an adverse condition into a benign one (i.e., sunny), upon which the downstream tasks (e.g., semantic segmentation) can attain high accuracy. Prior work primarily formulates this as an unpaired image-to-image translation problem due to the lack of paired images captured under the exact same camera poses and semantic layouts. While perfectly- aligned images are not available, one can easily obtain coarsely- paired images. For instance, many people drive the same routes daily in both good and adverse weather; thus, images captured at close-by GPS locations can form a pair. Though data from repeated traversals are unlikely to capture the same foreground objects, we posit that they provide rich contextual information to supervise the image translation model. To this end, we propose a novel training objective leveraging coarsely- aligned image pairs. We show that our coarsely-aligned training scheme leads to a better image translation quality and improved downstream tasks, such as semantic segmentation, monocular depth estimation, and visual localization. 
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  3. For a self-driving car to operate reliably, its perceptual system must generalize to the end-user's environment---ideally without additional annotation efforts. One potential solution is to leverage unlabeled data (eg, unlabeled LiDAR point clouds) collected from the end-users' environments (ie target domain) to adapt the system to the difference between training and testing environments. While extensive research has been done on such an unsupervised domain adaptation problem, one fundamental problem lingers: there is no reliable signal in the target domain to supervise the adaptation process. To overcome this issue we observe that it is easy to collect unsupervised data from multiple traversals of repeated routes. While different from conventional unsupervised domain adaptation, this assumption is extremely realistic since many drivers share the same roads. We show that this simple additional assumption is sufficient to obtain a potent signal that allows us to perform iterative self-training of 3D object detectors on the target domain. Concretely, we generate pseudo-labels with the out-of-domain detector but reduce false positives by removing detections of supposedly mobile objects that are persistent across traversals. Further, we reduce false negatives by encouraging predictions in regions that are not persistent. We experiment with our approach on two large-scale driving datasets and show remarkable improvement in 3D object detection of cars, pedestrians, and cyclists, bringing us a step closer to generalizable autonomous driving. 
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  4. null (Ed.)