Explicitly Incorporating Spatial Information to Recurrent Networks for Agriculture

Claus Smitt1, Michael Halstead2, Alireza Ahmadi1, Chris McCool1

  • 1University of Bonn
  • 2Bonn University
 IROS Best Paper Award on Agri-Robotics sponsored by YANMAR


13:30 - 13:45 | Tue 25 Oct | Rm1 (Room A) | TuB-1.5

Session: Award Session VII


In agriculture, the majority of vision systems perform still image classification. Yet, recent work has highlighted the potential of spatial and temporal cues as a rich source of information to improve the classification performance. In this paper, we propose novel approaches to explicitly capture both spatial and temporal information to improve the classification of deep convolutional neural networks. We leverage available RGB-D images and robot odometry to perform inter-frame feature map spatial registration. This information is then fused within recurrent deep learnt models, to improve their accuracy and robustness. We demonstrate that this can considerably improve the classification performance with our best performing spatial-temporal model (ST-Atte) achieving absolute performance improvements for intersection-over-union (IoU[%]) of 4.7 for crop-weed segmentation and 2.6 for fruit (sweet pepper) segmentation. Furthermore, we show that these approaches are robust to variable framerates and odometry errors, which are frequently observed in real-world applications.