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Archive of posts published in the category: Udacity

GitHub – balancap/SDC-Vehicle-Detection: Udacity Project

The goad of this project is to implement a robust pipeline capable of detecting moving vehicles in real-time. Even though the project was designed for using classic Computer Vision techniques, namely HOG features and SVM classifier, in agreement the course organizers, I decided like a few other students to go for a deep learning approach.

Several important papers on object detection using deep convolutional networks have been published the last few years. More specifically, Faster R-CNN, YOLO and Single Shot MultiBox Detector are the present state-of-the-art in using CNN for real-time object detection.

Even though there are a few differences between the three previous approaches, they share the same general pipeline. Namely, the detection network is designed based on the following rules:

  • Use a deep convolutional network trained on ImageNet as a multi-scale source of features. Typically, VGG, ResNet or Inception;
  • Provide a collection of pre-defined anchors boxes tiling the image at different positions and scales. They serve the same purpose as the sliding window approach in classic CV detection algorithms;
  • For every anchor box, the modified CNN provides a probability for every class of object (and a no detection probability), and offsets (x, y, width and height) between the detected box and the associated anchor box.
  • The detection output of the network is post-processed using a Non-Maximum Selection algorithm, in order to remove overlapping boxes.

For this project, I decided to implement the SSD detector, as the later provides a good compromise between accuracy and speed (note that the last YOLOv2 article describes in fact a SSD-like network).

The author of the original SSD research paper had implemented SSD using the framework Caffe. As I could not find any satisfying TensorFlow implementation of the former, I decided to write my own from scratch. This task was more time-consuming than I had originally thought, but also allowed me to learn how to properly write a large TensorFlow pipeline, from TFRecords to TensorBoard! I left my pure SSD port in a different GitHub repository, and modified it for this vehicle detection project.

SSD architecture

As previously outlined, the SSD network used the concept of anchor boxes for object detection. The image below illustrates the concept: at several scales are pre-defined boxes with different sizes and ratios. The goal of SSD convolutional network is, for each of these anchor boxes, to detect if there is an object inside this box (or closely), and compute the offset between the object bounding box and the fixed anchor box.

In the case of SSD network, we use VGG as a based architecture: it provides high quality features at different scales, the former being then used as inputs for multibox modules in charge of computing the object type and coordinates for each anchor boxes. The architecture of the network we use is illustrated in the following TensorBoard graph. It follows the original SSD paper:

  • Convolutional Blocks 1 to 7 are exactly VGG modules. Hence, these weights can be imported from VGG weights, speeding massively training time;

udacity/self-driving-car: The Udacity open source self-driving car project

Self-Driving Car

We’re Building an Open Source Self-Driving Car

And we want your help!

At Udacity, we believe in democratizing education. How can we provide opportunity to everyone on the planet? We also believe in teaching really amazing and useful subject matter. When we decided to build the Self-Driving Car Nanodegree program, to teach the world to build autonomous vehicles, we instantly knew we had to tackle our own self-driving car too.

Together with Google Self-Driving Car founder and Udacity President Sebastian Thrun, we formed our core Self-Driving Car Team. One of the first decisions we made? Open source code, written by hundreds of students from across the globe!

You can read more about our plans for this project.


Here’s a list of the projects we’ve open sourced:

How to Contribute

Like any open source project, this code base will require a certain amount of thoughtfulness. However, when you add a 2-ton vehicle into the equation, we also need to make safety our absolute top priority, and pull requests just don’t cut it. To really optimize for safety, we’re breaking down the problem of making the car autonomous into Udacity Challenges.


Each challenge will contain awesome prizes (cash and others) for the most effective contributions, but more importantly, the challenge format enables us to benchmark the safety of the code before we ever think of running it in the car. We believe challenges to be the best medium for us to build a Level-4 autonomous vehicle, while at the same time offering our contributors a valuable and exciting learning experience.

You can find a current list of challenges, with lots of information, on the Udacity self-driving car page. This is the primary way to contribute to this open source self-driving car project.

Core Contributors


Open Source Base Software Support

Tier IV

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