Tübingen – Andreas Geiger, Leader of the Autonomous Vision Research Group at the Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) and Professor for Learning-based Computer Vision and Autonomous Vision at the University of Tübingen receives the Young Researcher Award granted by the IEEE Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI) Technical Committee at this year´s IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR). The prize is regarded the most prestigious award in the field of Computer Vision for a young researcher. Geiger is the first scientist from Germany to receive it, and the 3rd researcher in Europe.
“Winning this award means a lot to me as it recognizes the international impact of my group's work and puts us at the level of the best computer vision research labs around the world,” Geiger explains.
It is no surprise the prestigious Young Researcher Award goes to a scientist working both at the MPI-IS and the University of Tübingen. It once more highlights that the Stuttgart-Tübingen region, known as Cyber Valley, is at the forefront of research in artificial intelligence (AI). Cyber Valley is one of Europe's largest research collaborations in the field of artificial intelligence and it is here where exceptional research is being conducted in the field of computer vision, robotics and machine learning. The MPI-IS together with the University of Tübingen and Stuttgart hold a leading international position in these fields.
“Andreas Geiger is having a huge influence on the field of computer vision as well as industry. He exemplifies what Cyber Valley is all about”, says Michael Black, Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and speaker of Cyber Valley. “We are attracting and retaining the top talent in the competitive field of AI and, by doing so, building a world class community of scientists to strengthen AI education, generate breakthrough technologies, and to accelerate industrial adoption of AI in German."
The IEEE PAMI Young Researcher Award recognizes Andreas Geiger for his distinguished research contribution in bridging the gap between computer vision, machine learning and robotics: Geiger is the first researcher globally to establish autonomous driving as a prominent area within these research fields. For one, he develops some of the best performing models to robustly solve challenging computer vision tasks in the context of autonomous systems, particularly in the areas of 3D reconstruction, 3D motion estimation, and 3D scene understanding. His software enables computers to recognize and classify different situations in for instance road traffic. While humans have learned to filter what is important to be able to safely reach a destination, Geiger and his team teach computers onboard self-driving vehicles what matters and what´s just a flower on the side of the road. Phenomenal computing power is at play when special sensors filter millions of pixels per second and send signals for the car to steer through traffic unharmed.
Secondly, Geiger proposed some of the most challenging datasets and benchmarks for perception of autonomous vehicles. “My research and datasets simplify decisions that need to be made by auto companies regarding which algorithms are suitable for handling a task”, Geiger explains. “Our works on scene understanding provide a perspective for truly autonomous driving without the need for specialized high definition maps or expensive laser scanning equipment. Several of the algorithmic innovations from our group are used in research vehicles around the globe. For example, in 2013 during the autonomous drive of Mercedes-Benz´ research vehicle S 500 Intelligent Drive, which drove independently on the approximately 100 kilometers between Mannheim and Pforzheim – the route on which Bertha Benz once made history.”
Outstanding researchers like Geiger, who can write complicated image recognition algorithms, are rare – hence in demand worldwide. The reason is that the largest computer and car companies are currently battling a fierce competition for the best autonomous vehicles and are desperately looking for experts in the field of Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, Geiger is dedicated to Germany and Cyber Valley.
“I like freedom”, Geiger says. “Researching at the MPI-IS and the University of Tübingen means I can choose my research projects completely independently and change the direction of my research whenever I want. It gives me the possibility to tackle more risky academic endeavors. With Cyber Valley bringing together industry and research institutions in a vibrant environment, I can also choose my cooperation partners freely. Currently we collaborate with the local German car industry which is a fruitful exchange as we can bring engineering and AI expertise together to advance the state-of-the-art.”
Since March this year, Andreas Geiger is a Full Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Tübingen. At the same time, he heads the Autonomous Vision research group at the MPI for Intelligent Systems. He has been Research Group Leader since June 2016. Until February this year, he has been a Visiting Professor in the Computer Vision and Geometry Group at ETH Zürich in Switzerland. Between June 2013 and May 2016, he has been a Research Scientist and a Group Leader in the Perceiving Systems Department, lead by Director Michael Black. Between September 2008 and May 2013, Geiger has been a Research and Teaching Assistant in the Department of Measurement and Control Systems at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, from which he received his Ph.D. with a thesis on "Probabilistic Models for 3D Urban Scene Understanding from Movable Platforms".
Geiger has been awarded many prizes, among them the German Pattern Recognition Prize by the German Pattern Recognition Society (DAGM) and the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in 2017. In February 2015, he received the Award for the best Ph.D. thesis by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany.
CVPR is regarded as the world´s top conference in computer vision and pattern recognition. Geiger was announced one of two recipients of the IEEE PAMI Young Researcher Award during the conference, that´s taking place in Salt Lake City, Utah. The other winner is Kaiming He, research scientist at Facebook AI research (right in the above image).
To find out more about CVPR 2018 visit: http://cvpr2018.thecvf.com/
To find out more about Cyber valley, visit: www.cyber-valley.de