|Title||Towards Synthetic Dataset Generation for Semantic Segmentation Networks|
|Year of Publication||2019|
|Academic Department||Electrical and Computer Engineering|
|University||University of Waterloo|
Recent work in semantic segmentation research for autonomous vehicles has shifted towards multimodal techniques. The driving factor behind this is a lack of reliable and ample ground truth annotation data of real-world adverse weather and lighting conditions. Human labeling of such adverse conditions is oftentimes erroneous and very expensive. However, it is a worthwhile endeavour to identify ways to make unimodal semantic segmentation networks more robust. It encourages cost reduction through reduced reliance on sensor fusion. Also, a more robust unimodal network can be used towards multimodal techniques for increased overall system performance. The objective of this thesis is to converge upon a synthetic dataset generation method and testing framework that is conducive towards rapid validation of unimodal semantic segmentation network architectures. We explore multiple avenues of synthetic dataset generation. Insights gained through these explorations guide us towards designing the ProcSy method. ProcSy consists of a procedurally-created, virtual replica of a real-world operational design domain around the city of Waterloo, Ontario. Ground truth annotations, depth, and occlusion data can be produced in real-time. The ProcSy method generates repeatable scenes with quantifiable variations of adverse weather and lighting conditions. We demonstrate experiments using the ProcSy method on DeepLab v3+, a state-of-the-art network for unimodal semantic segmentation tasks. We gain insights about the behaviour of DeepLab on unseen adverse weather conditions. Based on empirical testing, we identify optimization techniques towards data collection for robustly training the network.