Described Object Detection: Liberating Object Detection with Flexible Expressions

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Chi Xie, Zhao Zhang, Yixuan Wu, Feng Zhu, Rui Zhao, Shuang Liang


Detecting objects based on language information is a popular task that includes Open-Vocabulary object Detection (OVD) and Referring Expression Comprehension (REC). In this paper, we advance them to a more practical setting called *Described Object Detection* (DOD) by expanding category names to flexible language expressions for OVD and overcoming the limitation of REC only grounding the pre-existing object. We establish the research foundation for DOD by constructing a *Description Detection Dataset* ($D^3$). This dataset features flexible language expressions, whether short category names or long descriptions, and annotating all described objects on all images without omission. By evaluating previous SOTA methods on $D^3$, we find some troublemakers that fail current REC, OVD, and bi-functional methods. REC methods struggle with confidence scores, rejecting negative instances, and multi-target scenarios, while OVD methods face constraints with long and complex descriptions. Recent bi-functional methods also do not work well on DOD due to their separated training procedures and inference strategies for REC and OVD tasks. Building upon the aforementioned findings, we propose a baseline that largely improves REC methods by reconstructing the training data and introducing a binary classification sub-task, outperforming existing methods. Data and code are available at and related works are tracked in