Semantic image segmentation is a basic street scene understanding task in autonomous driving, where each pixel in a high resolution image is categorized into a set of semantic labels. Unlike other scenarios, objects in autonomous driving scene exhibit very large scale changes, which poses great challenges for high-level feature representation in a sense that multi-scale information must be correctly encoded. To remedy this problem, atrous convolution was introduced to generate features with larger receptive fields without sacrificing spatial resolution. Built upon atrous convolution, Atrous Spatial Pyramid Pooling (ASPP) was proposed to concatenate multiple atrous-convolved features using different dilation rates into a final feature representation. Although ASPP is able to generate multi-scale features, we argue the feature resolution in the scale-axis is not dense enough for the autonomous driving scenario. To this end, we propose Densely connected Atrous Spatial Pyramid Pooling (DenseASPP), which connects a set of atrous convolutional layers in a dense way, such that it generates multi-scale features that not only cover a larger scale range, but also cover that scale range densely, without significantly increasing the model size. We evaluate DenseASPP on the street scene benchmark Cityscapes and achieve state-of-the-art performance.
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