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RaLF: Flow-based Global and Metric Radar Localization in LiDAR Maps

Abhijeet NayakDaniele CattaneoAbhinav Valada
Sep 2023
Localization is paramount for autonomous robots. While camera and LiDAR-based approaches have been extensively investigated, they are affected by adverse illumination and weather conditions. Therefore, radar sensors have recently gained attention due to their intrinsic robustness to such conditions. In this paper, we propose RaLF, a novel deep neural network-based approach for localizing radar scans in a LiDAR map of the environment, by jointly learning to address both place recognition and metric localization. RaLF is composed of radar and LiDAR feature encoders, a place recognition head that generates global descriptors, and a metric localization head that predicts the 3-DoF transformation between the radar scan and the map. We tackle the place recognition task by learning a shared embedding space between the two modalities via cross-modal metric learning. Additionally, we perform metric localization by predicting pixel-level flow vectors that align the query radar scan with the LiDAR map. We extensively evaluate our approach on multiple real-world driving datasets and show that RaLF achieves state-of-the-art performance for both place recognition and metric localization. Moreover, we demonstrate that our approach can effectively generalize to different cities and sensor setups than the ones used during training. We make the code and trained models publicly available at
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