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Self-Supervised Learning for Place Representation Generalization Across Appearance Changes
Visual place recognition is a key to unlocking spatial navigation for animals, humans and robots. While state-of-the-art approaches are trained in a supervised manner and, therefore, hardly capture the information needed for generalizing to unusual conditions. We argue that self-supervised learning may help abstracting the place representation so that it can be foreseen, irrespective of the conditions. More precisely, in this paper, we investigate learning features that are robust to appearance modifications while sensitive to geometric transformations in a self-supervised manner. This dual-purpose training is made possible by combining the two self-supervision main paradigms, i.e. contrastive and predictive learning. Our results on standard benchmarks reveal that jointly learning such appearance-robust and geometry-sensitive image descriptors leads to competitive visual place recognition results across adverse seasonal and illumination conditions without requiring any humanannotated labels.