Robotics: Science and Systems V

Unsupervised discovery of object classes from range data using latent Dirichlet allocation

F. Endres, C. Plagemann, C. Stachniss and W. Burgard


Truly versatile robots operating in the real world have to be able to learn about objects and their properties autonomously, that is, without being provided with carefully engineered training data. This paper presents an approach that allows a robot to discover object classes in three-dimensional range data in an unsupervised fashion and without a-priori knowledge about the observed objects. Our approach builds on Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA), a recently proposed probabilistic method for discovering topics in text documents. We discuss feature extraction, hypothesis generation, and statistical modeling of objects in 3D range data as well as the novel application of LDA to this domain. Our approach has been implemented and evaluated on real data of complex objects. Practical experiments demonstrate, that our approach is able to learn object class models autonomously that are consistent with the true classifications provided by a human. It furthermore outperforms unsupervised method such as hierarchical clustering that operate on a distance metric.



    AUTHOR    = {F. Endres AND C. Plagemann AND C. Stachniss AND W. Burgard},
    TITLE     = {Unsupervised discovery of object classes from range data using latent Dirichlet allocation},
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems},
    YEAR      = {2009},
    ADDRESS   = {Seattle, USA},
    MONTH     = {June},
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2009.V.015}