X-ray imaging machines are widely used in border control checkpoints or public transportation, for luggage scanning and inspection. Recent advances in deep learning enabled automatic object detection of X-ray imaging results to largely reduce labor costs. Compared to tasks on natural images, object detection for X-ray inspection are typically more challenging, due to the varied sizes and aspect ratios of X-ray images, random locations of the small target objects within the redundant background region, etc. In practice, we show that directly applying off-the-shelf deep learning-based detection algorithms for X-ray imagery can be highly time-consuming and ineffective. To this end, we propose a Task-Driven Cropping scheme, dubbed TDC, for improving the deep image detection algorithms towards efficient and effective luggage inspection via X-ray images. Instead of processing the whole X-ray images for object detection, we propose a two-stage strategy, which first adaptively crops X-ray images and only preserves the task-related regions, i.e., the luggage regions for security inspection. A task-specific deep feature extractor is used to rapidly identify the importance of each X-ray image pixel. Only the regions that are useful and related to the detection tasks are kept and passed to the follow-up deep detector. The varied-scale X-ray images are thus reduced to the same size and aspect ratio, which enables a more efficient deep detection pipeline. Besides, to benchmark the effectiveness of X-ray image detection algorithms, we propose a novel dataset for X-ray image detection, dubbed SIXray-D, based on the popular SIXray dataset. In SIXray-D, we provide the complete and more accurate annotations of both object classes and bounding boxes, which enables model training for supervised X-ray detection methods. Our results show that our proposed TDC algorithm can effectively boost popular detection algorithms, by achieving better detection mAPs or reducing the run time.
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