Redesigned Skip-Network for Crowd Counting with Dilated Convolution and Backward Connection

J Imaging. 2020 May 2;6(5):28. doi: 10.3390/jimaging6050028.


Crowd counting is a challenging task dealing with the variation of an object scale and a crowd density. Existing works have emphasized on skip connections by integrating shallower layers with deeper layers, where each layer extracts features in a different object scale and crowd density. However, only high-level features are emphasized while ignoring low-level features. This paper proposes an estimation network by passing high-level features to shallow layers and emphasizing its low-level feature. Since an estimation network is a hierarchical network, a high-level feature is also emphasized by an improved low-level feature. Our estimation network consists of two identical networks for extracting a high-level feature and estimating the final result. To preserve semantic information, dilated convolution is employed without resizing the feature map. Our method was tested in three datasets for counting humans and vehicles in a crowd image. The counting performance is evaluated by mean absolute error and root mean squared error indicating the accuracy and robustness of an estimation network, respectively. The experimental result shows that our network outperforms other related works in a high crowd density and is effective for reducing over-counting error in the overall case.

Keywords: crowd counting; dilated convolution; regression-based approach; skip connection; surveillance system.