Why current rain denoising models fail on CycleGAN created rain images in autonomous driving

Michael Kranl, Hubert Ramsauer, Bernhard Knapp

One of the main tasks of an autonomous agent in a vehicle is to correctly perceive its environment. Much of the data that needs to be processed is collected by optical sensors such as cameras. Unfortunately, the data collected in this way can be affected by a variety of factors, including environmental influences such as inclement weather conditions (e.g., rain). Such noisy data can cause autonomous agents to take wrong decisions with potentially fatal outcomes. This paper addresses the rain image challenge by two steps: First, rain is artificially added to a set of clear-weather condition images using a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN). This yields good/bad weather image pairs for training de-raining models. This artificial generation of rain images is sufficiently realistic as in 7 out of 10 cases, human test subjects believed the generated rain images to be real. In a second step, this paired good/bad weather image data is used to train two rain denoising models, one based primarily on a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) and the other using a Vision Transformer. This rain de-noising step showed limited performance as the quality gain was only about 15%. This lack of performance on realistic rain images as used in our study is likely due to current rain de-noising models being developed for simplistic rain overlay data. Our study shows that there is ample space for improvement of de-raining models in autonomous driving.

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