Point Cloud Forecasting as a Proxy for 4D Occupancy Forecasting

Tarasha Khurana · Peiyun Hu · David Held · Deva Ramanan

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 106


Predicting how the world can evolve in the future is crucial for motion planning in autonomous systems. Classical methods are limited because they rely on costly human annotations in the form of semantic class labels, bounding boxes, and tracks or HD maps of cities to plan their motion -- and thus are difficult to scale to large unlabeled datasets. One promising self-supervised task is 3D point cloud forecasting from unannotated LiDAR sequences. We show that this task requires algorithms to implicitly capture (1) sensor extrinsics (i.e., the egomotion of the autonomous vehicle), (2) sensor intrinsics (i.e., the sampling pattern specific to the particular LiDAR sensor), and (3) the shape and motion of other objects in the scene. But autonomous systems should make predictions about the world and not their sensors! To this end, we factor out (1) and (2) by recasting the task as one of spacetime (4D) occupancy forecasting. But because it is expensive to obtain ground-truth 4D occupancy, we “render” point cloud data from 4D occupancy predictions given sensor extrinsics and intrinsics, allowing one to train and test occupancy algorithms with unannotated LiDAR sequences. This also allows one to evaluate and compare point cloud forecasting algorithms across diverse datasets, sensors, and vehicles.

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