Vehicle detection based on very high-resolution (VHR) remote sensing images is beneficial in many fields such as military surveillance, traffic control, and social/economic studies. However, intricate details about the vehicle and the surrounding background provided by VHR images require sophisticated analysis based on massive data samples, though the number of reliable labeled training data is limited. In practice, data augmentation is often leveraged to solve this conflict. The traditional data augmentation strategy uses a combination of rotation, scaling, and flipping transformations, etc., and has limited capabilities in capturing the essence of feature distribution and proving data diversity. In this study, we propose a learning method named Vehicle Synthesis Generative Adversarial Networks (VS-GANs) to generate annotated vehicles from remote sensing images. The proposed framework has one generator and two discriminators, which try to synthesize realistic vehicles and learn the background context simultaneously. The method can quickly generate high-quality annotated vehicle data samples and greatly helps in the training of vehicle detectors. Experimental results show that the proposed framework can synthesize vehicles and their background images with variations and different levels of details. Compared with traditional data augmentation methods, the proposed method significantly improves the generalization capability of vehicle detectors. Finally, the contribution of VS-GANs to vehicle detection in VHR remote sensing images was proved in experiments conducted on UCAS-AOD and NWPU VHR-10 datasets using up-to-date target detection frameworks.
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