Planning with Occluded Traffic Agents using Bi-Level Variational Occlusion Models


Reasoning with occluded traffic agents is a significant open challenge for planning for autonomous vehicles. Recent deep learning models have shown impressive results for predicting occluded agents based on the behaviour of nearby visible agents; however, as we show in experiments, these models are difficult to integrate into downstream planning. To this end, we propose Bi-level Variational Occlusion Models (BiVO), a two-step generative model that first predicts likely locations of occluded agents, and then generates likely trajectories for the occluded agents. In contrast to existing methods, BiVO outputs a trajectory distribution which can then be sampled from and integrated into standard downstream planning. We evaluate the method in closed-loop replay simulation using the real-world nuScenes dataset. Our results suggest that BiVO can successfully learn to predict occluded agent trajectories, and these predictions lead to better subsequent motion plans in critical scenarios.