Andreas Geiger

Publications of Kashyap Chitta

Parting with Misconceptions about Learning-based Vehicle Motion Planning
D. Dauner, M. Hallgarten, A. Geiger and K. Chitta
Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL), 2023
Abstract: The release of nuPlan marks a new era in vehicle motion planning research, offering the first large-scale real-world dataset and evaluation schemes requiring both precise short-term planning and long-horizon ego-forecasting. Existing systems struggle to simultaneously meet both requirements. Indeed, we find that these tasks are fundamentally misaligned and should be addressed independently. We further assess the current state of closed-loop planning in the field, revealing the limitations of learning-based methods in complex real-world scenarios and the value of simple rule-based priors such as centerline selection through lane graph search algorithms. More surprisingly, for the open-loop sub-task, we observe that the best results are achieved when using only this centerline as scene context (ie, ignoring all information regarding the map and other agents). Combining these insights, we propose an extremely simple and efficient planner which outperforms an extensive set of competitors, winning the nuPlan planning challenge 2023.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@inproceedings{Dauner2023CORL,
  author = {Daniel Dauner and Marcel Hallgarten and Andreas Geiger and Kashyap Chitta},
  title = {Parting with Misconceptions about Learning-based Vehicle Motion Planning},
  booktitle = {Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL)},
  year = {2023}
}
Hidden Biases of End-to-End Driving Models
B. Jaeger, K. Chitta and A. Geiger
International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2023
Abstract: End-to-end driving systems have recently made rapid progress, in particular on CARLA. Independent of their major contribution, they introduce changes to minor system components. Consequently, the source of improvements is unclear. We identify two biases that recur in nearly all state-of-the-art methods and are critical for the observed progress on CARLA: (1) lateral recovery via a strong inductive bias towards target point following, and (2) longitudinal averaging of multimodal waypoint predictions for slowing down. We investigate the drawbacks of these biases and identify principled alternatives. By incorporating our insights, we develop TF++, a simple end-to-end method that ranks first on the Longest6 and LAV benchmarks, gaining 11 driving score over the best prior work on Longest6.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@inproceedings{Jaeger2023ICCV,
  author = {Bernhard Jaeger and Kashyap Chitta and Andreas Geiger},
  title = {Hidden Biases of End-to-End Driving Models},
  booktitle = {International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
  year = {2023}
}
TransFuser: Imitation with Transformer-Based Sensor Fusion for Autonomous Driving
K. Chitta, A. Prakash, B. Jaeger, Z. Yu, K. Renz and A. Geiger
Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (TPAMI), 2023
Abstract: How should we integrate representations from complementary sensors for autonomous driving? Geometry-based fusion has shown promise for perception (e.g. object detection, motion forecasting). However, in the context of end-to-end driving, we find that imitation learning based on existing sensor fusion methods underperforms in complex driving scenarios with a high density of dynamic agents. Therefore, we propose TransFuser, a mechanism to integrate image and LiDAR representations using self-attention. Our approach uses transformer modules at multiple resolutions to fuse perspective view and bird's eye view feature maps. We experimentally validate its efficacy on a challenging new benchmark with long routes and dense traffic, as well as the official leaderboard of the CARLA urban driving simulator. At the time of submission, TransFuser outperforms all prior work on the CARLA leaderboard in terms of driving score by a large margin. Compared to geometry-based fusion, TransFuser reduces the average collisions per kilometer by 48%.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@article{Chitta2022PAMI,
  author = {Kashyap Chitta and Aditya Prakash and Bernhard Jaeger and Zehao Yu and Katrin Renz and Andreas Geiger},
  title = {TransFuser: Imitation with Transformer-Based Sensor Fusion for Autonomous Driving},
  journal = {Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (TPAMI)},
  year = {2023}
}
End-to-end Autonomous Driving: Challenges and Frontiers
L. Chen, P. Wu, K. Chitta, B. Jaeger, A. Geiger and H. Li
Arxiv, 2023
Abstract: The autonomous driving community has witnessed a rapid growth in approaches that embrace an end-to-end algorithm framework, utilizing raw sensor input to generate vehicle motion plans, instead of concentrating on individual tasks such as detection and motion prediction. End-to-end systems, in comparison to modular pipelines, benefit from joint feature optimization for perception and planning. This field has flourished due to the availability of large-scale datasets, closed-loop evaluation, and the increasing need for autonomous driving algorithms to perform effectively in challenging scenarios. In this survey, we provide a comprehensive analysis of more than 250 papers, covering the motivation, roadmap, methodology, challenges, and future trends in end-to-end autonomous driving. We delve into several critical challenges, including multi-modality, interpretability, causal confusion, robustness, and world models, amongst others. Additionally, we discuss current advancements in foundation models and visual pre-training, as well as how to incorporate these techniques within the end-to-end driving framework.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@article{Chen2023ARXIVa,
  author = {Li Chen and Penghao Wu and Kashyap Chitta and Bernhard Jaeger and Andreas Geiger and Hongyang Li},
  title = {End-to-end Autonomous Driving: Challenges and Frontiers},
  journal = {Arxiv},
  year = {2023}
}
PlanT: Explainable Planning Transformers via Object-Level Representations
K. Renz, K. Chitta, O. Mercea, A. Koepke, Z. Akata and A. Geiger
Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL), 2022
Abstract: Planning an optimal route in a complex environment requires efficient reasoning about the surrounding scene. While human drivers prioritize important objects and ignore details not relevant to the decision, learning-based planners typically extract features from dense, high-dimensional grid representations of the scene containing all vehicle and road context information. In this paper, we propose PlanT, a novel approach for planning in the context of self-driving that uses a standard transformer architecture. PlanT is based on imitation learning with a compact object-level input representation. With this representation, we demonstrate that information regarding the ego vehicle's route provides sufficient context regarding the road layout for planning. On the challenging Longest6 benchmark for CARLA, PlanT outperforms all prior methods (matching the driving score of the expert) while being 5.3x faster than equivalent pixel-based planning baselines during inference. Furthermore, we propose an evaluation protocol to quantify the ability of planners to identify relevant objects, providing insights regarding their decision making. Our results indicate that PlanT can reliably focus on the most relevant object in the scene, even when this object is geometrically distant.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@inproceedings{Renz2022CORL,
  author = {Katrin Renz and Kashyap Chitta and Otniel-Bogdan Mercea and Almut Sophia Koepke and Zeynep Akata and Andreas Geiger},
  title = {PlanT: Explainable Planning Transformers via Object-Level Representations},
  booktitle = {Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL)},
  year = {2022}
}
KING: Generating Safety-Critical Driving Scenarios for Robust Imitation via Kinematics Gradients (oral)
N. Hanselmann, K. Renz, K. Chitta, A. Bhattacharyya and A. Geiger
European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), 2022
Abstract: Simulators offer the possibility of safe, low-cost development of self-driving systems. However, current driving simulators exhibit naïve behavior models for background traffic. Hand-tuned scenarios are typically added during simulation to induce safety-critical situations. An alternative approach is to adversarially perturb the background traffic trajectories. In this paper, we study this approach to safety-critical driving scenario generation using the CARLA simulator. We use a kinematic bicycle model as a proxy to the simulator's true dynamics and observe that gradients through this proxy model are sufficient for optimizing the background traffic trajectories. Based on this finding, we propose KING, which generates safety-critical driving scenarios with a 20% higher success rate than black-box optimization. By solving the scenarios generated by KING using a privileged rule-based expert algorithm, we obtain training data for an imitation learning policy. After fine-tuning on this new data, we show that the policy becomes better at avoiding collisions. Importantly, our generated data leads to reduced collisions on both held-out scenarios generated via KING as well as traditional hand-crafted scenarios, demonstrating improved robustness.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@inproceedings{Hanselmann2022ECCV,
  author = {Niklas Hanselmann and Katrin Renz and Kashyap Chitta and Apratim Bhattacharyya and Andreas Geiger},
  title = {KING: Generating Safety-Critical Driving Scenarios for Robust Imitation via Kinematics Gradients},
  booktitle = {European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV)},
  year = {2022}
}
Projected GANs Converge Faster
A. Sauer, K. Chitta, J. Müller and A. Geiger
Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), 2021
Abstract: Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) produce high-quality images but are challenging to train. They need careful regularization, vast amounts of compute, and expensive hyper-parameter sweeps. We make significant headway on these issues by projecting generated and real samples into a fixed, pretrained feature space. Motivated by the finding that the discriminator cannot fully exploit features from deeper layers of the pretrained model, we propose a more effective strategy that mixes features across channels and resolutions. Our Projected GAN improves image quality, sample efficiency, and convergence speed. It is further compatible with resolutions of up to one Megapixel and advances the state-of-the-art Fréchet Inception Distance (FID) on twenty-two benchmark datasets. Importantly, Projected GANs match the previously lowest FIDs up to 40 times faster, cutting the wall-clock time from 5 days to less than 3 hours given the same computational resources.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@inproceedings{Sauer2021NEURIPS,
  author = {Axel Sauer and Kashyap Chitta and Jens Müller and Andreas Geiger},
  title = {Projected GANs Converge Faster},
  booktitle = {Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS)},
  year = {2021}
}
NEAT: Neural Attention Fields for End-to-End Autonomous Driving
K. Chitta, A. Prakash and A. Geiger
International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2021
Abstract: Efficient reasoning about the semantic, spatial, and temporal structure of a scene is a crucial pre-requisite for autonomous driving. We present NEural ATtention fields (NEAT), a novel representation that enables such reasoning for end-to-end Imitation Learning (IL) models. Our representation is a continuous function which maps locations in Bird's Eye View (BEV) scene coordinates to waypoints and semantics, using intermediate attention maps to iteratively compress high-dimensional 2D image features into a compact representation. This allows our model to selectively attend to relevant regions in the input while ignoring information irrelevant to the driving task, effectively associating the images with the BEV representation. NEAT nearly matches the state-of-the-art on the CARLA Leaderboard while being far less resource-intensive. Furthermore, visualizing the attention maps for models with NEAT intermediate representations provides improved interpretability. On a new evaluation setting involving adverse environmental conditions and challenging scenarios, NEAT outperforms several strong baselines and achieves driving scores on par with the privileged CARLA expert used to generate its training data.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@inproceedings{Chitta2021ICCV,
  author = {Kashyap Chitta and Aditya Prakash and Andreas Geiger},
  title = {NEAT: Neural Attention Fields for End-to-End Autonomous Driving},
  booktitle = {International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
  year = {2021}
}
Benchmarking Unsupervised Object Representations for Video Sequences
M. Weis, K. Chitta, Y. Sharma, W. Brendel, M. Bethge, A. Geiger and A. Ecker
Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR), 2021
Abstract: Perceiving the world in terms of objects and tracking them through time is a crucial prerequisite for reasoning and scene understanding. Recently, several methods have been proposed for unsupervised learning of object-centric representations. However, since these models were evaluated on different downstream tasks, it remains unclear how they compare in terms of basic perceptual abilities such as detection, figure-ground segmentation and tracking of objects. To close this gap, we design a benchmark with four data sets of varying complexity and seven additional test sets featuring challenging tracking scenarios relevant for natural videos. Using this benchmark, we compare the perceptual abilities of four object-centric approaches: ViMON, a video-extension of MONet, based on recurrent spatial attention, OP3, which exploits clustering via spatial mixture models, as well as TBA and SCALOR, which use explicit factorization via spatial transformers. Our results suggest that the architectures with unconstrained latent representations learn more powerful representations in terms of object detection, segmentation and tracking than the spatial transformer based architectures. We also observe that none of the methods are able to gracefully handle the most challenging tracking scenarios despite their synthetic nature, suggesting that our benchmark may provide fruitful guidance towards learning more robust object-centric video representations.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@article{Weis2021JMLR,
  author = {Marissa Weis and Kashyap Chitta and Yash Sharma and Wieland Brendel and Matthias Bethge and Andreas Geiger and Alexander Ecker},
  title = {Benchmarking Unsupervised Object Representations for Video Sequences},
  journal = {Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR)},
  year = {2021}
}
Multi-Modal Fusion Transformer for End-to-End Autonomous Driving
A. Prakash, K. Chitta and A. Geiger
Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2021
Abstract: How should representations from complementary sensors be integrated for autonomous driving? Geometry-based sensor fusion has shown great promise for perception tasks such as object detection and motion forecasting. However, for the actual driving task, the global context of the 3D scene is key, e.g. a change in traffic light state can affect the behavior of a vehicle geometrically distant from that traffic light. Geometry alone may therefore be insufficient for effectively fusing representations in end-to-end driving models. In this work, we demonstrate that existing sensor fusion methods under-perform in the presence of a high density of dynamic agents and complex scenarios, which require global contextual reasoning, such as handling traffic oncoming from multiple directions at uncontrolled intersections. Therefore, we propose TransFuser, a novel Multi-Modal Fusion Transformer, to integrate image and LiDAR representations using attention. We experimentally validate the efficacy of our approach in urban settings involving complex scenarios using the CARLA urban driving simulator. Our approach achieves state-of-the-art driving performance while reducing collisions by 80% compared to geometry-based fusion.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@inproceedings{Prakash2021CVPR,
  author = {Aditya Prakash and Kashyap Chitta and Andreas Geiger},
  title = {Multi-Modal Fusion Transformer for End-to-End Autonomous Driving},
  booktitle = {Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
  year = {2021}
}
Label Efficient Visual Abstractions for Autonomous Driving
A. Behl, K. Chitta, A. Prakash, E. Ohn-Bar and A. Geiger
International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2020
Abstract: It is well known that semantic segmentation can be used as an effective intermediate representation for learning driving policies. However, the task of street scene semantic segmentation requires expensive annotations. Furthermore, segmentation algorithms are often trained irrespective of the actual driving task, using auxiliary image-space loss functions which are not guaranteed to maximize driving metrics such as safety or distance traveled per intervention. In this work, we seek to quantify the impact of reducing segmentation annotation costs on learned behavior cloning agents. We analyze several segmentation-based intermediate representations. We use these visual abstractions to systematically study the trade-off between annotation efficiency and driving performance, ie, the types of classes labeled, the number of image samples used to learn the visual abstraction model, and their granularity (eg, object masks vs. 2D bounding boxes). Our analysis uncovers several practical insights into how segmentation-based visual abstractions can be exploited in a more label efficient manner. Surprisingly, we find that state-of-the-art driving performance can be achieved with orders of magnitude reduction in annotation cost. Beyond label efficiency, we find several additional training benefits when leveraging visual abstractions, such as a significant reduction in the variance of the learned policy when compared to state-of-the-art end-to-end driving models.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@inproceedings{Behl2020IROS,
  author = {Aseem Behl and Kashyap Chitta and Aditya Prakash and Eshed Ohn-Bar and Andreas Geiger},
  title = {Label Efficient Visual Abstractions for Autonomous Driving},
  booktitle = {International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)},
  year = {2020}
}
Learning Situational Driving
E. Ohn-Bar, A. Prakash, A. Behl, K. Chitta and A. Geiger
Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2020
Abstract: Human drivers have a remarkable ability to drive in diverse visual conditions and situations, e.g., from maneuvering in rainy, limited visibility conditions with no lane markings to turning in a busy intersection while yielding to pedestrians. In contrast, we find that state-of-the-art sensorimotor driving models struggle when encountering diverse settings with varying relationships between observation and action. To generalize when making decisions across diverse conditions, humans leverage multiple types of situation-specific reasoning and learning strategies. Motivated by this observation, we develop a framework for learning a situational driving policy that effectively captures reasoning under varying types of scenarios. Our key idea is to learn a mixture model with a set of policies that can capture multiple driving modes. We first optimize the mixture model through behavior cloning, and show it to result in significant gains in terms of driving performance in diverse conditions. We then refine the model by directly optimizing for the driving task itself, i.e., supervised with the navigation task reward. Our method is more scalable than methods assuming access to privileged information, e.g., perception labels, as it only assumes demonstration and reward-based supervision. We achieve over 98% success rate on the CARLA driving benchmark as well as state-of-the-art performance on a newly introduced generalization benchmark.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@inproceedings{Ohn-Bar2020CVPR,
  author = {Eshed Ohn-Bar and Aditya Prakash and Aseem Behl and Kashyap Chitta and Andreas Geiger},
  title = {Learning Situational Driving},
  booktitle = {Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
  year = {2020}
}
Exploring Data Aggregation in Policy Learning for Vision-based Urban Autonomous Driving
A. Prakash, A. Behl, E. Ohn-Bar, K. Chitta and A. Geiger
Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2020
Abstract: Data aggregation techniques can significantly improve vision-based policy learning within a training environment, e.g., learning to drive in a specific simulation condition. However, as on-policy data is sequentially sampled and added in an iterative manner, the policy can specialize and overfit to the training conditions. For real-world applications, it is useful for the learned policy to generalize to novel scenarios that differ from the training conditions. To improve policy learning while maintaining robustness when training end-to-end driving policies, we perform an extensive analysis of data aggregation techniques in the CARLA environment. We demonstrate how the majority of them have poor generalization performance, and develop a novel approach with empirically better generalization performance compared to existing techniques. Our two key ideas are (1) to sample critical states from the collected on-policy data based on the utility they provide to the learned policy in terms of driving behavior, and (2) to incorporate a replay buffer which progressively focuses on the high uncertainty regions of the policy's state distribution. We evaluate the proposed approach on the CARLA NoCrash benchmark, focusing on the most challenging driving scenarios with dense pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Our approach improves driving success rate by 16% over state-of-the-art, achieving 87% of the expert performance while also reducing the collision rate by an order of magnitude without the use of any additional modality, auxiliary tasks, architectural modifications or reward from the environment.
Latex Bibtex Citation:
@inproceedings{Prakash2020CVPR,
  author = {Aditya Prakash and Aseem Behl and Eshed Ohn-Bar and Kashyap Chitta and Andreas Geiger},
  title = {Exploring Data Aggregation in Policy Learning for Vision-based Urban Autonomous Driving},
  booktitle = {Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
  year = {2020}
}


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