Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2023-05-31, 12:39 authored by Justin Cody EdwardsJustin Cody Edwards


Semantic segmentation is a machine learning task that is seeing increased utilization in multiples fields, from medical imagery, to land demarcation, and autonomous vehicles. Semantic segmentation performs the pixel-wise classification of images, creating a new, segmented representation of the input that can be useful for detected various terrain and objects within and image. Recently, convolutional neural networks have been heavily utilized when creating neural networks tackling the semantic segmentation task. This is particularly true in the field of autonomous driving systems.

The requirements of automated driver assistance systems (ADAS) drive semantic segmentation models targeted for deployment on ADAS to be lightweight while maintaining accuracy. A commonly used method to increase accuracy in the autonomous vehicle field is to fuse multiple sensory modalities. This research focuses on leveraging the fusion of long wave infrared (LWIR) imagery with visual spectrum imagery to fill in the inherent performance gaps when using visual imagery alone. This comes with a host of benefits, such as increase performance in various lighting conditions and adverse environmental conditions. Utilizing this fusion technique is an effective method of increasing the accuracy of a semantic segmentation model. Being a lightweight architecture is key for successful deployment on ADAS, as these systems often have resource constraints and need to operate in real-time. Multi-Spectral Fusion Network (MFNet) [ 1 ] accomplishes these parameters by leveraging a sensory fusion approach, and as such was selected as the baseline architecture for this research.

Many improvements were made upon the baseline architecture by leveraging a variety of techniques. Such improvements include the proposal of a novel loss function categorical cross-entropy dice loss, introduction of squeeze and excitation (SE) blocks, addition of pyramid pooling, a new fusion technique, and drop input data augmentation. These improvements culminated in the creation of the Fast Thermal Fusion Network (FTFNet). Further improvements were made by introducing depthwise separable convolutional layers leading to lightweight FTFNet variants, FTFNet Lite 1 & 2.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering


  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

Campus location

  • Indianapolis

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Mohamed El-Sharkawy

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Brian King

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Dongsoo Kim