Discriminating known from unknown objects is an important essential ability for human beings. To simulate this ability, a task of unsupervised out-of-distribution object detection (OOD-OD) is proposed to detect the objects that are never-seen-before during model training, which is beneficial for promoting the safe deployment of object detectors. Due to lacking unknown data for supervision, for this task, the main challenge lies in how to leverage the known in-distribution (ID) data to improve the detector’s discrimination ability. In this paper, we first propose a method of Structure-Enhanced Recurrent Variational AutoEncoder (SR-VAE), which mainly consists of two dedicated recurrent VAE branches. Specifically, to boost the performance of object localization, we explore utilizing the classical Laplacian of Gaussian (LoG) operator to enhance the structure information in the extracted low-level features. Meanwhile, we design a VAE branch that recurrently generates the augmentation of the classification features to strengthen the discrimination ability of the object classifier. Finally, to alleviate the impact of lacking unknown data, another cycle-consistent conditional VAE branch is proposed to synthesize virtual OOD features that deviate from the distribution of ID features, which improves the capability of distinguishing OOD objects. In the experiments, our method is evaluated on OOD-OD, open-vocabulary detection, and incremental object detection. The significant performance gains over baselines show the superiorities of our method. The code will be released at https://github.com/AmingWu/SR-VAE.