TerrainNet: Visual Modeling of Complex Terrain for High-speed, Off-road Navigation


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Effective use of camera-based vision systems is essential for robust performance in autonomous off-road driving, particularly in the high-speed regime. Despite success in structured, on-road settings, current end-to-end approaches for scene prediction have yet to be successfully adapted for complex outdoor terrain. To this end, we present TerrainNet, a vision-based terrain perception system for semantic and geometric terrain prediction for aggressive, off-road navigation. The approach relies on several key insights and practical considerations for achieving reliable terrain modeling. The network includes a multi-headed output representation to capture fine- and coarse-grained terrain features necessary for estimating traversability. Accurate depth estimation is achieved using self-supervised depth completion with multi-view RGB and stereo inputs. Requirements for real-time performance and fast inference speeds are met using efficient, learned image feature projections. Furthermore, the model is trained on a large-scale, real-world off-road dataset collected across a variety of diverse outdoor environments. We show how TerrainNet can also be used for costmap prediction and provide a detailed framework for integration into a planning module. We demonstrate the performance of TerrainNet through extensive comparison to current state-of-the-art baselines for camera-only scene prediction. Finally, we showcase the effectiveness of integrating TerrainNet within a complete autonomous-driving stack by conducting a real-world vehicle test in a challenging off-road scenario.
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