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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Visual Detection and Tracking using Deep Neural Networks: A Performance Benchmark

Isaac-Medina, Brian K. S. and Poyser, Matthew and Organisciak, Daniel and Willcocks, Chris G. and Breckon, Toby P. and Shum, Hubert P. H. (2021) 'Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Visual Detection and Tracking using Deep Neural Networks: A Performance Benchmark.', ICCVW '21 Virtual, 11-17 Oct 2021.


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) can pose a major risk for aviation safety, due to both negligent and malicious use. For this reason, the automated detection and tracking of UAV is a fundamental task in aerial security systems. Common technologies for UAV detection include visibleband and thermal infrared imaging, radio frequency and radar. Recent advances in deep neural networks (DNNs) for image-based object detection open the possibility to use visual information for this detection and tracking task. Furthermore, these detection architectures can be implemented as backbones for visual tracking systems, thereby enabling persistent tracking of UAV incursions. To date, no comprehensive performance benchmark exists that applies DNNs to visible-band imagery for UAV detection and tracking. To this end, three datasets with varied environmental conditions for UAV detection and tracking, comprising a total of 241 videos (331,486 images), are assessed using four detection architectures and three tracking frameworks. The best performing detector architecture obtains an mAP of 98.6% and the best performing tracking framework obtains a MOTA of 98.7%. Cross-modality evaluation is carried out between visible and infrared spectrums, achieving a maximal 82.8% mAP on visible images when training in the infrared modality. These results provide the first public multi-approach benchmark for state-of-the-art deep learning-based methods and give insight into which detection and tracking architectures are effective in the UAV domain.

Item Type:Conference item (Paper)
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:© 2021 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
Date accepted:13 August 2021
Date deposited:18 August 2021
Date of first online publication:2021
Date first made open access:18 October 2021

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