Paved2Paradise: Cost-Effective and Scalable LiDAR Simulation by Factoring the Real World

Published: 09 Apr 2024, Last Modified: 22 Apr 2024SynData4CVEveryoneRevisionsBibTeXCC BY 4.0
Keywords: LiDAR, simulation, ray tracing, 3D object detection, PointNet++, PointPillars
TL;DR: Paved2Paradise is a pipeline for generating diverse and realistic LiDAR data from strategically collected natural data.
Abstract: To achieve strong real world performance, neural networks must be trained on large, diverse datasets; however, obtaining and annotating such datasets is costly and time-consuming, particularly for 3D point clouds. In this paper, we describe Paved2Paradise, a simple, cost-effective approach for generating fully labeled, diverse, and realistic lidar datasets *from scratch*—all while requiring minimal human annotation. Our key insight is that, by deliberately collecting separate "background" and "object" datasets (i.e., "factoring the real world"), we can intelligently combine them to produce a combinatorially large and diverse training set. The Paved2Paradise pipeline thus consists of four steps: (1) collecting copious background data, (2) recording individuals from the desired object class(es) performing different behaviors in an isolated environment (like a parking lot), (3) bootstrapping labels for the object dataset, and (4) generating samples by placing objects at arbitrary locations in backgrounds. To demonstrate the utility of Paved2Paradise, we generated synthetic datasets for two tasks: (1) human detection in orchards (a task for which no public data exists) and (2) pedestrian detection in urban environments. Qualitatively, we find that a model trained exclusively on Paved2Paradise synthetic data is highly effective at detecting humans in orchards, including when individuals are heavily occluded by tree branches. Quantitatively, a model trained on Paved2Paradise data that sources backgrounds from KITTI performs comparably to a model trained on the actual dataset. These results suggest the Paved2Paradise synthetic data pipeline can help accelerate point cloud model development in sectors where acquiring lidar datasets has previously been cost-prohibitive.
Submission Number: 3