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Sparse Laneformer: Efficient Transformer-based Lane Detection with Dynamic Sparse Anchors

Core Concepts
A transformer-based lane detection framework with sparse anchor mechanism that generates dynamic anchors from position-aware lane queries and angle queries, achieving competitive performance with fewer computational costs compared to state-of-the-art methods.
The paper proposes a transformer-based lane detection framework called Sparse Laneformer that uses a sparse anchor mechanism instead of the dense anchors commonly used in previous methods. Key highlights: Sparse Laneformer generates sparse anchors (typically 20) using position-aware lane queries and angle queries, in contrast to previous methods that use hundreds or thousands of dense anchors. The sparse anchors are dynamic and adaptive to each input image, as the rotation angle for each anchor is predicted based on the angle queries. The method uses a two-stage transformer decoder to interact with the queries and refine the lane predictions. It includes novel attention modules like Horizontal Perceptual Attention (HPA) and Lane-Angle Cross Attention (LACA) to efficiently process the features. Extensive experiments show that Sparse Laneformer performs favorably against state-of-the-art methods on benchmark datasets like CULane, TuSimple and LLAMAS, while using fewer computational resources. The paper demonstrates that a sparse anchor design can achieve comparable performance to dense anchor methods, while being more efficient and flexible.
Sparse Laneformer with ResNet-34 backbone achieves 77.77% F1 score on CULane, surpassing Laneformer by 3.07% and O2SFormer by 0.74% while using 18.1G MACs. On TuSimple, Sparse Laneformer with ResNet-34 achieves 96.81% F1 score and 95.69% accuracy, comparable to state-of-the-art methods. On LLAMAS, Sparse Laneformer with ResNet-34 achieves 96.56% F1 score, outperforming LaneATT by 1.6%.
"Our method differs from the existing anchor-based methods in three aspects. (1) Existing methods (e.g., [5], [18]) rely on hundreds or thousands of anchors to cover the priors of lane shape, while we design sparse anchors to reduce the algorithm complexity with comparable performance. (2) Compared to Laneformer [19] and O2SFormer [20] that are also built on the transformer, we present different attention interactions with a different anchor generation mechanism, and implement a simpler pipeline without the need of auxiliary detectors." "Experiments validate the effectiveness of our sparse anchor design and demonstrate competitive performance with the state-of-the-art methods."

Key Insights Distilled From

by Ji Liu,Zifen... at 04-12-2024
Sparse Laneformer

Deeper Inquiries

How can the sparse anchor design in Sparse Laneformer be extended to handle more complex lane structures, such as curved or intersecting lanes

To extend the sparse anchor design in Sparse Laneformer to handle more complex lane structures like curved or intersecting lanes, several modifications can be implemented. Firstly, the angle queries in the sparse anchor mechanism can be adjusted to accommodate varying lane curvatures. By introducing additional angle queries or modifying the existing ones to capture the curvature of lanes, the model can better predict the shape of curved lanes. Moreover, incorporating deformable attention mechanisms in the transformer decoder can allow the model to adapt to the changing lane structures, enabling it to detect intersecting lanes more effectively. By dynamically adjusting the anchor generation based on the lane curvature and intersection points, Sparse Laneformer can enhance its capability to handle complex lane configurations.

What other transformer-based architectures or attention mechanisms could be explored to further improve the lane detection performance of Sparse Laneformer

To further improve the lane detection performance of Sparse Laneformer, exploring different transformer-based architectures and attention mechanisms can be beneficial. One approach could be integrating graph neural networks (GNNs) into the transformer decoder to capture spatial dependencies between lane features more effectively. By incorporating graph attention networks (GATs) or graph convolutional networks (GCNs) within the transformer architecture, Sparse Laneformer can leverage the relational information between lanes to enhance detection accuracy. Additionally, experimenting with different attention mechanisms such as sparse attention or multi-head attention can help the model focus on relevant lane features and improve prediction accuracy. By combining transformer-based architectures with advanced attention mechanisms, Sparse Laneformer can achieve superior lane detection performance.

Given the flexibility of the dynamic anchor generation, how could Sparse Laneformer be adapted to handle lane detection in diverse driving environments, such as rural roads or construction zones

Given the flexibility of the dynamic anchor generation in Sparse Laneformer, adapting the model to handle lane detection in diverse driving environments like rural roads or construction zones can be achieved through several strategies. Firstly, incorporating scene-specific priors into the anchor generation process can help the model adapt to different road conditions. By training the model on diverse datasets that include rural road scenarios or construction zones, Sparse Laneformer can learn to generate anchors tailored to these environments. Additionally, introducing context-aware attention mechanisms that consider environmental factors such as road texture, lighting conditions, and lane markings can enhance the model's ability to detect lanes accurately in varied driving settings. By fine-tuning the anchor generation process and attention mechanisms based on the specific characteristics of different driving environments, Sparse Laneformer can be effectively adapted to handle lane detection challenges in diverse scenarios.