Autonomous Driving refers to the capability of a vehicle to operate and navigate without human intervention. Autonomous vehicles use a combination of sensors, cameras, radar, lidar, and sophisticated algorithms to perceive their environment, make decisions, and navigate routes safely. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) defines different levels of autonomy, ranging from Level 0 (no automation) to Level 5 (full automation, no human intervention required).

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Instantaneous Perception of Moving Objects in 3D

The perception of 3D motion of surrounding traffic participants is crucial for driving safety. While existing works primarily focus on general large motions, we contend that the instantaneous detection and quantification of subtle motions is equally important as they indicate the nuances in driving behavior that may be safety critical, such as behaviors near a stop sign of parking positions. We delve into this under-explored task, examining its unique challenges and developing our solution, accompanied by a carefully designed benchmark. Specifically, due to the lack of correspondences between consecutive frames of sparse Lidar point clouds, static objects might appear to be moving – the so-called swimming effect. This intertwines with the true object motion, thereby posing ambiguity in accurate estimation, especially for subtle motions. To address this, we propose to leverage local occupancy completion of object point clouds to densify the shape cue, and mitigate the impact of swimming artifacts. The occupancy completion is learned in an end-to-end fashion together with the detection of moving objects and the estimation of their motion, instantaneously as soon as objects start to move. Extensive experiments demonstrate superior performance compared to standard 3D motion estimation approaches, particularly highlighting our method’s specialized treatment of subtle motions.

LidaRF: Delving into Lidar for Neural Radiance Field on Street Scenes

Photorealistic simulation plays a crucial role in applications such as autonomous driving, where advances in neural radiance fields (NeRFs) may allow better scalability through the automatic creation of digital 3D assets. However, reconstruction quality suffers on street scenes due to largely collinear camera motions and sparser samplings at higher speeds. On the other hand, the application often demands rendering from camera views that deviate from the inputs to accurately simulate behaviors like lane changes. In this paper, we propose several insights that allow a better utilization of Lidar data to improve NeRF quality on street scenes. First, our framework learns a geometric scene representation from Lidar, which are fused with the implicit grid-based representation for radiance decoding, thereby supplying strongergeometric information offered by explicit point cloud. Second, we put forth a robust occlusion-aware depth supervision scheme, which allows utilizing densified Lidar points by accumulation. Third, we generate augmented training views from Lidar points for further improvement. Our insights translate to largely improved novel view synthesis under real driving scenes.

AIDE: An Automatic Data Engine for Object Detection in Autonomous Driving

Autonomous vehicle (AV) systems rely on robust perception models as a cornerstone of safety assurance. However, objects encountered on the road exhibit a long-tailed distribution, with rare or unseen categories posing challenges to a deployed perception model. This necessitates an expensive process of continuously curating and annotating data with significant human effort. We propose to leverage recent advances in vision-language and large language models to design an Automatic Data Engine (AIDE) that automatically identifies issues, efficiently curates data, improves the model through auto-labeling, and verifies the model through generation of diverse scenarios. This process operates iteratively, allowing for continuous self-improvement of the model. We further establish a benchmark for open-world detection on AV datasets to comprehensively evaluate various learning paradigms, demonstrating our method’s superior performance at a reduced cost.

Controllable Safety-Critical Closed-Loop Traffic Simulation via Guided Diffusion

Evaluating the performance of autonomous vehicle planning algorithms necessitates simulating long-tail traffic scenarios. Traditional methods for generating safety-critical scenarios often fall short in realism and controllability. Furthermore, these techniques generally neglect the dynamics of agent interactions. To mitigate these limitations, we introduce a novel closed-loop simulation framework rooted in guided diffusion models. Our approach yields two distinct advantages: 1) the generation of realistic long-tail scenarios that closely emulate real-world conditions, and 2) enhanced controllability, enabling more comprehensive and interactive evaluations. We achieve this through novel guidance objectives that enhance road progress while lowering collision and off-road rates. We develop a novel approach to simulate safety-critical scenarios through an adversarial term in the denoising process, which allows the adversarial agent to challenge a planner with plausible maneuvers, while all agents in the scene exhibit reactive and realistic behaviors. We validate our framework empirically using the NuScenes dataset, demonstrating improvements in both realism and controllability. These findings affirm that guided diffusion models provide a robust and versatile foundation for safety-critical, interactive traffic simulation, extending their utility across the broader landscape of autonomous driving. For additional resources and demonstrations, visit our project page at https://safe-sim.github.io/

LLM-ASSIST: Enhancing Closed-Loop Planning with Language-Based Reasoning

Although planning is a crucial component of the autonomous driving stack, researchers have yet to develop robust planning algorithms that are capable of safely handling the diverse range of possible driving scenarios. Learning-based planners suffer from overfitting and poor long-tail performance. On the other hand, rule-based planners generalize well, but might fail to handle scenarios that require complex driving maneuvers. To address these limitations, we investigate the possibility of leveraging the common-sense reasoning capabilities of Large Language Models (LLMs) such as GPT4 and Llama2 to generate plans for self-driving vehicles. In particular, we develop a novel hybrid planner that leverages a conventional rule-based planner in conjunction with an LLM-based planner. Guided by commonsense reasoning abilities of LLMs, our approach navigates complex scenarios which existing planners struggle with, produces well-reasoned outputs while also remaining grounded through working alongside the rule-based approach. Through extensive evaluation on the nuPlan benchmark, we achieve state-of-the-art performance, outperforming all existing pure learning- and rule-based methods across most metrics. Our code will be available at https://llmassist.github.io/

Divide-and-Conquer for Lane-Aware Diverse Trajectory Prediction

Trajectory prediction is a safety-critical tool for autonomous vehicles to plan and execute actions. Our work addresses two key challenges in trajectory prediction, learning multimodal outputs, and better predictions by imposing constraints using driving knowledge. Recent methods have achieved strong performances using Multi-Choice Learning objectives like winner-takes-all (WTA) or best-of-many. But the impact of those methods in learning diverse hypotheses is under-studied as such objectives highly depend on their initialization for diversity. As our first contribution, we propose a novel Divide-And-Conquer (DAC) approach that acts as a better initialization technique to WTA objective, resulting in diverse outputs without any spurious modes. Our second contribution is a novel trajectory prediction framework called ALAN that uses existing lane centerlines as anchors to provide trajectories constrained to the input lanes. Our framework provides multi-agent trajectory outputs in a forward pass by capturing interactions through hypercolumn descriptors and incorporating scene information in the form of rasterized images and per-agent lane anchors. Experiments on synthetic and real data show that the proposed DAC captures the data distribution better compare to other WTA family of objectives. Further, we show that our ALAN approach provides on par or better performance with SOTA methods evaluated on Nuscenes urban driving benchmark.