SemanticDepth: Fusing Semantic Segmentation and Monocular Depth Estimation for Enabling Autonomous Driving in Roads without Lane Lines

Sensors (Basel). 2019 Jul 22;19(14):3224. doi: 10.3390/s19143224.


Typically, lane departure warning systems rely on lane lines being present on the road.However, in many scenarios, e.g., secondary roads or some streets in cities, lane lines are eithernot present or not sufficiently well signaled. In this work, we present a vision-based method tolocate a vehicle within the road when no lane lines are present using only RGB images as input.To this end, we propose to fuse together the outputs of a semantic segmentation and a monoculardepth estimation architecture to reconstruct locally a semantic 3D point cloud of the viewed scene.We only retain points belonging to the road and, additionally, to any kind of fences or walls thatmight be present right at the sides of the road. We then compute the width of the road at a certainpoint on the planned trajectory and, additionally, what we denote as the fence-to-fence distance.Our system is suited to any kind of motoring scenario and is especially useful when lane lines arenot present on the road or do not signal the path correctly. The additional fence-to-fence distancecomputation is complementary to the road's width estimation. We quantitatively test our methodon a set of images featuring streets of the city of Munich that contain a road-fence structure, so asto compare our two proposed variants, namely the road's width and the fence-to-fence distancecomputation. In addition, we also validate our system qualitatively on the Stuttgart sequence of thepublicly available Cityscapes dataset, where no fences or walls are present at the sides of the road,thus demonstrating that our system can be deployed in a standard city-like environment. For thebenefit of the community, we make our software open source.

Keywords: Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS); autonomous driving; computer vision; deep learning; fusion architecture; monocular depth estimation; scene understanding; semantic segmentation; situational awareness.