Three ways to improve feature alignment for open vocabulary detection

The core problem in zero-shot open vocabulary detection is how to align visual and text features, so that the detector performs well on unseen classes. Previous approaches train the feature pyramid and detection head from scratch, which breaks the vision-text feature alignment established during pretraining, and struggles to prevent the language model from forgetting unseen classes.

We propose three methods to alleviate these issues. Firstly, a simple scheme is used to augment the text embeddings which prevents overfitting to a small number of classes seen during training, while simultaneously saving memory and computation. Secondly, the feature pyramid network and the detection head are modified to include trainable gated shortcuts, which encourages vision-text feature alignment and guarantees it at the start of detection training. Finally, a self-training approach is used to leverage a larger corpus of image-text pairs thus improving detection performance on classes with no human annotated bounding boxes.

Our three methods are evaluated on the zero-shot version of the LVIS benchmark, each of them showing clear and significant benefits. Our final network achieves the new state-of-the-art on the mAP-all metric and demonstrates competitive performance for mAP-rare, as well as superior transfer to COCO and Objects365.