Dr Sun Yuxiang, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME), has been awarded a HK$899,300 Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) grant by the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) for a research project entitled "A Study on RGB-Thermal Adaptive Fusion-based Semantic Understanding of Complex Day-and-Night Environments for Autonomous Driving". ITC also provides additional full financial support for this project for up to 4 research talents including research assistants (up to HK$21,000 per month) and postdoctoral research fellows (up to HK$32,000 per month).
Semantic understanding of traffic environments is important to ensure safe driving of autonomous vehicles. It can tell a self-driving car which pixels correspond to free spaces or obstacles in the pictures taken by an on-vehicle visual camera, so that the car can effectively avoid obstacles and safely navigate. However, the current semantic understanding solutions usually use RGB visible-light cameras. When the ambient light is insufficient at night, or there are glares caused by on-coming headlight, the existing solutions are difficult to produce satisfactory results. To address this problem, this project proposes to design a solution based on adaptive fusion of RGB and thermal images, so that robust semantic understanding could be achieved in complex day-and-night environments.
It is very encouraging to see young scholar from our department to be funded by important funding of ITC to conduct research in cutting-edge technologies.