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EPro-PnP: Generalized End-to-End Probabilistic Perspective-N-Points for Monocular Object Pose Estimation
Locating 3D objects from a single RGB image via Perspective-n-Points (PnP) is a long-standing problem in computer vision. Driven by end-to-end deep learning, recent studies suggest interpreting PnP as a differentiable layer, so that 2D-3D point correspondences can be partly learned by backpropagating the gradient w.r.t. object pose. Yet, learning the entire set of unrestricted 2D-3D points from scratch fails to converge with existing approaches, since the deterministic pose is inherently non-differentiable. In this paper, we propose the EPro-PnP, a probabilistic PnP layer for general end-to-end pose estimation, which outputs a distribution of pose on the SE(3) manifold, essentially bringing categorical Softmax to the continuous domain. The 2D-3D coordinates and corresponding weights are treated as intermediate variables learned by minimizing the KL divergence between the predicted and target pose distribution. The underlying principle unifies the existing approaches and resembles the attention mechanism. EPro-PnP significantly outperforms competitive baselines, closing the gap between PnP-based method and the task-specific leaders on the LineMOD 6DoF pose estimation and nuScenes 3D object detection benchmarks.