Understanding the Impact of Image Quality and Distance of Objects to Object Detection Performance

Yu Hao, Haoyang Pei, Yixuan Lyu, Zhongzheng Yuan, John-Ross Rizzo, Yao Wang, Yi Fang

Deep learning has made great strides for object detection in images. The detection accuracy and computational cost of object detection depend on the spatial resolution of an image, which may be constrained by both the camera and storage considerations. Compression is often achieved by reducing either spatial or amplitude resolution or, at times, both, both of which have well-known effects on performance. Detection accuracy also depends on the distance of the object of interest from the camera. Our work examines the impact of spatial and amplitude resolution, as well as object distance, on object detection accuracy and computational cost. We develop a resolution-adaptive variant of YOLOv5 (RA-YOLO), which varies the number of scales in the feature pyramid and detection head based on the spatial resolution of the input image. To train and evaluate this new method, we created a dataset of images with diverse spatial and amplitude resolutions by combining images from the TJU and Eurocity datasets and generating different resolutions by applying spatial resizing and compression. We first show that RA-YOLO achieves a good trade-off between detection accuracy and inference time over a large range of spatial resolutions. We then evaluate the impact of spatial and amplitude resolutions on object detection accuracy using the proposed RA-YOLO model. We demonstrate that the optimal spatial resolution that leads to the highest detection accuracy depends on the 'tolerated' image size. We further assess the impact of the distance of an object to the camera on the detection accuracy and show that higher spatial resolution enables a greater detection range. These results provide important guidelines for choosing the image spatial resolution and compression settings predicated on available bandwidth, storage, desired inference time, and/or desired detection range, in practical applications.

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