Theses and Dissertations



Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Tang, Bo

Committee Member

Ball, John E.

Committee Member

Koshka, Yaroslav

Committee Member

Diao, Junming

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Due to the mission-critical nature of the autonomous driving application, underlying algorithms for scene understanding should be given special care during their development. Mostly, they should be designed with precise consideration of accuracy and run-time. Accuracy should be considered strictly which if compromised leads to faulty interpretation of the environment that may ultimately result in accidental scenarios. On the other hand, run-time holds an important position as the delayed understanding of the scene would hamper the real-time response of the vehicle which again leads to unforeseen accidental cases. These factors come as the functions of several factors such as the design and complexity of the algorithms, nature of the encountered objects or events in the environment, weather-induced effects, etc.

In this work, several novel scene understanding algorithms in terms- of semantic segmentation are devised. First, a transfer learning technique is proposed in order to transfer the knowledge from the data-rich domain to a data-scarce off-road driving domain for semantic segmentation such that the learned information is efficiently transferred from one domain to another while reducing run-time and increasing the accuracy. Second, the performance of several segmentation algorithms is assessed under the easy-to-severe rainy condition and two methods for achieving the robustness are proposed. Third, a new method of eradicating the rain from the input images is proposed. Since autonomous vehicles are rich in sensors and each of them has the capability of representing different types of information, it is worth fusing the information from all the possible sensors. Forth, a fusion mechanism with a novel algorithm that facilitates the use of local and non-local attention in a cross-modal scenario with RGB camera images and lidar-based images for road detection using semantic segmentation is executed and validated for different driving scenarios. Fifth, a conceptually new method of off-road driving trail representation, called Traversability, is introduced. To establish the correlation between a vehicle’s capability and the level of difficulty of the driving trail, a new dataset called CaT (CAVS Traversability) is introduced. This dataset is very helpful for future research in several off-road driving applications including military purposes, robotic navigation, etc.

Available for download on Monday, May 15, 2023