Leveraging Vision-Centric Multi-Modal Expertise for 3D Object Detection

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Linyan Huang, Zhiqi Li, Chonghao Sima, Wenhai Wang, Jingdong Wang, Yu Qiao, Hongyang Li


Current research is primarily dedicated to advancing the accuracy of camera-only 3D object detectors (apprentice) through the knowledge transferred from LiDAR- or multi-modal-based counterparts (expert). However, the presence of the domain gap between LiDAR and camera features, coupled with the inherent incompatibility in temporal fusion, significantly hinders the effectiveness of distillation-based enhancements for apprentices. Motivated by the success of uni-modal distillation, an apprentice-friendly expert model would predominantly rely on camera features, while still achieving comparable performance to multi-modal models. To this end, we introduce VCD, a framework to improve the camera-only apprentice model, including an apprentice-friendly multi-modal expert and temporal-fusion-friendly distillation supervision. The multi-modal expert VCD-E adopts an identical structure as that of the camera-only apprentice in order to alleviate the feature disparity, and leverages LiDAR input as a depth prior to reconstruct the 3D scene, achieving the performance on par with other heterogeneous multi-modal experts. Additionally, a fine-grained trajectory-based distillation module is introduced with the purpose of individually rectifying the motion misalignment for each object in the scene. With those improvements, our camera-only apprentice VCD-A sets new state-of-the-art on nuScenes with a score of 63.1% NDS. The code will be released at https://github.com/OpenDriveLab/Birds-eye-view-Perception.