Convolutional neural networks boast a myriad of applications in artificial intelligence, but one of the most common uses for such networks is image extraction. The ability of convolutional layers to extract and combine data features for the purpose of image analysis can be leveraged for pose estimation on an object - detecting the presence and attitude of corners and edges allows a convolutional neural network to identify how an object is positioned. This task can assist in working to grasp an object correctly in robotics applications, or to track an object more accurately in 3D space. However, the effectiveness of pose estimation may change based on properties of the object; the pose of a complex object, complexity being determined by internal occlusions, similar faces, etcetera, can be difficult to resolve.
This thesis is part of a collaboration between ASU’s Interactive Robotics Laboratory and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In this thesis, the training pipeline from Sharma’s paper “Pose Estimation for Non-Cooperative Spacecraft Rendezvous Using Convolutional Neural Networks” was modified to perform pose estimation on a complex object - specifically, a segment of a hollow truss. After initial attempts to replicate the architecture used in the paper and train solely on synthetic images, a combination of synthetic dataset generation and transfer learning on an ImageNet-pretrained AlexNet model was implemented to mitigate the difficulty of gathering large amounts of real-world data. Experimentation with pose estimation accuracy and hyperparameters of the model resulted in gradual test accuracy improvement, and future work is suggested to improve pose estimation for complex objects with some form of rotational symmetry.
- Pose Estimation with Convolutional Neural Networks