A Comparative Study of Point-Based Deep Learning Techniques for Semantic Classification in Search and Rescue Arenas

Turgut K., Kaleci B.

International Journal of Advances in Engineering and Pure Sciences, vol.33, no.57, pp.57-66, 2021 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Post-disaster indoor environments, which occur after calamities such as floods, fires, and poisonous material spread, could include serious risks for search and rescue teams. For example, the building's structural integrity could be corrupted, and some harmful substances for humans and animals could exist. Exploiting robots could prevent search and rescue teams from these risks. Nevertheless, robots need to possess advanced techniques to produce high-level information from raw sensor data in these harsh environments. This study aims to explore the positive and negative aspects of point-based deep learning architectures for the semantic classification of ramps in search and rescue test arenas, which are proposed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Also, we take into account walls and terrain since they can provide crucial information for robots. In this study, we opted to utilize point cloud data that is robust against lousy illumination conditions, which is frequently encountered in post-disaster environments. We used the ESOGU RAMPS dataset that contains point cloud data captured from a simulated environment similar to NIST search and rescue arenas. We selected PointNet, PointNet++, Dynamic Graph Convolutional Neural Network (DGCNN), PointCNN, Point2Sequence, PointConv, and Shellnet point-based deep learning architectures to analyze their performance for semantic classification of ramps, walls, and terrain. The test results indicate that accuracy of semantic classification is over 90% for all architectures.