Symmetrical SURF and Its applications to vehicle detection and vehicle make and model recognition

Jun-Wei Hsieh, Li Chih Chen, Duan Yu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Speeded-Up Robust Features (SURF) is a robust and useful feature detector for various vision-based applications but it is unable to detect symmetrical objects. This paper proposes a new symmetrical SURF descriptor to enrich the power of SURF to detect all possible symmetrical matching pairs through a mirroring transformation. A vehicle make and model recognition (MMR) application is then adopted to prove the practicability and feasibility of the method. To detect vehicles from the road, the proposed symmetrical descriptor is first applied to determine the region of interest of each vehicle from the road without using any motion features. This scheme provides two advantages: there is no need for background subtraction and it is extremely efficient for real-time applications. Two MMR challenges, namely multiplicity and ambiguity problems, are then addressed. The multiplicity problem stems from one vehicle model often having different model shapes on the road. The ambiguity problem results from vehicles from different companies often sharing similar shapes. To address these two problems, a grid division scheme is proposed to separate a vehicle into several grids; different weak classifiers that are trained on these grids are then integrated to build a strong ensemble classifier. The histogram of gradient and SURF descriptors are adopted to train the weak classifiers through a support vector machine learning algorithm. Because of the rich representation power of the grid-based method and the high accuracy of vehicle detection, the ensemble classifier can accurately recognize each vehicle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6720121
Pages (from-to)6-20
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2014


  • Symmetrical Speeded-Up Robust Features (SURF)
  • vehicle detection
  • vehicle make and model recognition (MMR)


Dive into the research topics of 'Symmetrical SURF and Its applications to vehicle detection and vehicle make and model recognition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this