R2Former: Unified Retrieval and Reranking Transformer for Place Recognition
Sijie Zhu · Linjie Yang · Chen Chen · Mubarak Shah · Xiaohui Shen · Heng Wang
West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 275
Visual Place Recognition (VPR) estimates the location of query images by matching them with images in a reference database. Conventional methods generally adopt aggregated CNN features for global retrieval and RANSAC-based geometric verification for reranking. However, RANSAC only employs geometric information but ignores other possible information that could be useful for reranking, e.g. local feature correlations, and attention values. In this paper, we propose a unified place recognition framework that handles both retrieval and reranking with a novel transformer model, named R2Former. The proposed reranking module takes feature correlation, attention value, and xy coordinates into account, and learns to determine whether the image pair is from the same location. The whole pipeline is end-to-end trainable and the reranking module alone can also be adopted on other CNN or transformer backbones as a generic component. Remarkably, R2Former significantly outperforms state-of-the-art methods on major VPR datasets with much less inference time and memory consumption. It also achieves the state-of-the-art on the hold-out MSLS challenge set and could serve as a simple yet strong solution for real-world large-scale applications. Experiments also show vision transformer tokens are comparable and sometimes better than CNN local features on local matching. The code is released at https://github.com/Jeff-Zilence/R2Former.