A Universal Ship Detection Method With Domain-Invariant Representations

Although ship detection methods based on deep learning have achieved remarkable progress, the design of the universal ship detection (USD) system is rarely studied. The main challenge of USD lies in the notorious domain bias and shift problem across multiple domains. This article implements USD based on domain-invariant representations to alleviate this issue. Specifically, the proposed method integrates a multilevel domain classification network (MDCN) and a domain-centric cut-paste module (DCM). First, the backbone network is facilitated to learn domain-independent image features from multiple domains through MDCN, thereby reducing the disturbance of domain-specific features to universal detector. Furthermore, the proposed method combines the domain-related synthetic samples generated by DCM to provide MDCN with strong supervision information, which further motivates the network to be more attentive to the domain-invariant representations at the instance level. Finally, we conduct experiments on multiple ship datasets in the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and optical domains to verify the effectiveness of the method. The results show that the proposed method outperforms baseline by around 2.95% average precision (AP50), which achieves an effective USD system by complementing the information between domain-invariant representations.
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