PRANK: motion Prediction based on RANKing

NeurIPS 2020

Predicting the motion of agents such as pedestrians or human-driven vehicles is one of the most critical problems in the autonomous driving domain. The overall safety of driving and the comfort of a passenger directly depend on its successful solution. The motion prediction problem also remains one of the most challenging problems in autonomous driving engineering, mainly due to high variance of the possible agent's future behavior given a situation. The two phenomena responsible for the said variance are the multimodality caused by the uncertainty of the agent's intent (e.g., turn right or move forward) and uncertainty in the realization of a given intent (e.g., which lane to turn into). To be useful within a real-time autonomous driving pipeline, a motion prediction system must provide efficient ways to describe and quantify this uncertainty, such as computing posterior modes and their probabilities or estimating density at the point corresponding to a given trajectory. It also should not put substantial density on physically impossible trajectories, as they can confuse the system processing the predictions. In this paper, we introduce the PRANK method, which satisfies these requirements. PRANK takes rasterized bird-eye images of agent's surroundings as an input and extracts features of the scene with a convolutional neural network. It then produces the conditional distribution of agent's trajectories plausible in the given scene. The key contribution of PRANK is a way to represent that distribution using nearest-neighbor methods in latent trajectory space, which allows for efficient inference in real time. We evaluate PRANK on the in-house and Argoverse datasets, where it shows competitive results. Speakers: Yuriy Biktairov, Maxim Stebelev, Boris Yangel, Irina Rudenko, Oleh Shliazhko