Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)
Xueqian Li, Jhony Kaesemodel Pontes, Simon Lucey
Before the deep learning revolution, many perception algorithms were based on runtime optimization in conjunction with a strong prior/regularization penalty. A prime example of this in computer vision is optical and scene flow. Supervised learning has largely displaced the need for explicit regularization. Instead, they rely on large amounts of labeled data to capture prior statistics, which are not always readily available for many problems. Although optimization is employed to learn the neural network, at runtime, the weights of this network are frozen. As a result, these learning solutions are domain-specific and do not generalize well to other statistically different scenarios. This paper revisits the scene flow problem that relies predominantly on runtime optimization and strong regularization. A central innovation here is the inclusion of a neural scene flow prior, which utilizes the architecture of neural networks as a new type of implicit regularizer. Unlike learning-based scene flow methods, optimization occurs at runtime, and our approach needs no offline datasets---making it ideal for deployment in new environments such as autonomous driving. We show that an architecture based exclusively on multilayer perceptrons (MLPs) can be used as a scene flow prior. Our method attains competitive---if not better---results on scene flow benchmarks. Also, our neural prior's implicit and continuous scene flow representation allows us to estimate dense long-term correspondences across a sequence of point clouds. The dense motion information is represented by scene flow fields where points can be propagated through time by integrating motion vectors. We demonstrate such a capability by accumulating a sequence of lidar point clouds.