An FPGA Smart Camera Implementation of Segmentation Models for Drone Wildfire Imagery

Eduardo Garduño, Jorge Ciprian-Sanchez, Valente Vazquez-Garcia, Miguel Gonzalez-Mendoza, Gerardo Rodriguez-Hernandez, Adriana Palacios-Rosas, Lucile Rossi-Tisson, Gilberto Ochoa-Ruiz


Wildfires represent one of the most relevant natural disasters worldwide, due to their impact on various societal and environmental levels. Thus, a significant amount of research has been carried out to investigate and apply computer vision techniques to address this problem. One of the most promising approaches for wildfire fighting is the use of drones equipped with visible and infrared cameras for the detection, monitoring, and fire spread assessment in a remote manner but in close proximity to the affected areas. However, implementing effective computer vision algorithms on board is often prohibitive since deploying full-precision deep learning models running on GPU is not a viable option, due to their high power consumption and the limited payload a drone can handle. Thus, in this work, we posit that smart cameras, based on low-power consumption field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), in tandem with binarized neural networks (BNNs), represent a cost-effective alternative for implementing onboard computing on the edge. Herein we present the implementation of a segmentation model applied to the Corsican Fire Database. We optimized an existing U-Net model for such a task and ported the model to an edge device (a Xilinx Ultra96-v2 FPGA). By pruning and quantizing the original model, we reduce the number of parameters by 90%. Furthermore, additional optimizations enabled us to increase the throughput of the original model from 8 frames per second (FPS) to 33.63 FPS without loss in the segmentation performance: our model obtained 0.912 in Matthews correlation coefficient (MCC), 0.915 in F1 score and 0.870 in Hafiane quality index (HAF), and comparable qualitative segmentation results when contrasted to the original full-precision model. The final model was integrated into a low-cost FPGA, which was used to implement a neural network accelerator.


SoC FPGA , computer vision, segmentation, binarized neural networks, artificial intelligence, infrared imaging, pruning

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