Data Efficient Visual Place Recognition Using Extremely JPEG-Compressed Images

Mihnea-Alexandru Tomita, Bruno Ferrarini, Michael Milford, Klaus McDonald-Maier, Shoaib Ehsan

Visual Place Recognition (VPR) is the ability of a robotic platform to correctly interpret visual stimuli from its on-board cameras in order to determine whether it is currently located in a previously visited place, despite different viewpoint, illumination and appearance changes. JPEG is a widely used image compression standard that is capable of significantly reducing the size of an image at the cost of image clarity. For applications where several robotic platforms are simultaneously deployed, the visual data gathered must be transmitted remotely between each robot. Hence, JPEG compression can be employed to drastically reduce the amount of data transmitted over a communication channel, as working with limited bandwidth for VPR can be proven to be a challenging task. However, the effects of JPEG compression on the performance of current VPR techniques have not been previously studied. For this reason, this paper presents an in-depth study of JPEG compression in VPR related scenarios. We use a selection of well-established VPR techniques on 8 datasets with various amounts of compression applied. We show that by introducing compression, the VPR performance is drastically reduced, especially in the higher spectrum of compression. To overcome the negative effects of JPEG compression on the VPR performance, we present a fine-tuned CNN which is optimized for JPEG compressed data and show that it performs more consistently with the image transformations detected in extremely compressed JPEG images.

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