Multi-Branch Dilation Convolution CenterNet for Object Detection of Underwater Vehicles

Chen LIANG, Mingliang ZHOU, Fuqiang LIU, Yi QIN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Object detection occupies a very important position in the fishing operation and autonomous navigation of underwater vehicles. At present, most deep-learning object detection approaches, such as R-CNN, SPPNet, R-FCN, etc., have two stages and are based on anchors. However, the previous methods generally have the problems of weak generalization ability and not high enough computational efficiency due to the generation of anchors. As a well-known one-stage anchor-free method, CenterNet can accelerate the inference speed by omitting the step of generating anchors, whereas it is difficult to extract sufficient global information because of the residual structure at the bottom layer, which leads to low detection precision for the overlapping targets. Dilation convolution makes the kernel obtain a larger reception field and access more information. Multi-branch structure can not only preserve the whole area information, but also efficiently separate foreground and background. By combining the dilation convolution and multi-branch structure, multi-branch dilation convolution is proposed and applied to the Hourglass backbone network in CenterNet, then an improved CenterNet named multi-branch dilation convolution CenterNet (MDC-CenterNet) is built, which has a stronger ability of object detection. The proposed method is successfully utilized for detection of underwater organisms including holothurian, scallop, echinus and starfish, and the comparison result shows that it outperforms the original CenterNet and the classical object detection network. Moreover, with the MS-COCO and PASCAL VOC datasets, a number of comparative experiments are performed for showing the advancement of our method compared to other best methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2450101
JournalJournal of Circuits, Systems and Computers
Issue number6
Early online date11 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 World Scientific Publishing Company.


  • anchor-free
  • backbone
  • multi-branch dilation convolution
  • object detection
  • Underwater organism


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