Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)
Yiming Li, Shunli Ren, Pengxiang Wu, Siheng Chen, Chen Feng, Wenjun Zhang
To promote better performance-bandwidth trade-off for multi-agent perception, we propose a novel distilled collaboration graph (DiscoGraph) to model trainable, pose-aware, and adaptive collaboration among agents. Our key novelties lie in two aspects. First, we propose a teacher-student framework to train DiscoGraph via knowledge distillation. The teacher model employs an early collaboration with holistic-view inputs; the student model is based on intermediate collaboration with single-view inputs. Our framework trains DiscoGraph by constraining post-collaboration feature maps in the student model to match the correspondences in the teacher model. Second, we propose a matrix-valued edge weight in DiscoGraph. In such a matrix, each element reflects the inter-agent attention at a specific spatial region, allowing an agent to adaptively highlight the informative regions. During inference, we only need to use the student model named as the distilled collaboration network (DiscoNet). Attributed to the teacher-student framework, multiple agents with the shared DiscoNet could collaboratively approach the performance of a hypothetical teacher model with a holistic view. Our approach is validated on V2X-Sim 1.0, a large-scale multi-agent perception dataset that we synthesized using CARLA and SUMO co-simulation. Our quantitative and qualitative experiments in multi-agent 3D object detection show that DiscoNet could not only achieve a better performance-bandwidth trade-off than the state-of-the-art collaborative perception methods, but also bring more straightforward design rationale. Our code is available on https://github.com/ai4ce/DiscoNet.