Progress and Limitations of Deep Networks to Recognize Objects in Unusual Poses

Amro Abbas, Stéphane Deny

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


Deep networks should be robust to rare events if they are to be successfully deployed in high-stakes real-world applications. Here we study the capability of deep networks to recognize objects in unusual poses. We create a synthetic dataset of images of objects in unusual orientations, and evaluate the robustness of a collection of 38 recent and competitive deep networks for image classification. We show that classifying these images is still a challenge for all networks tested, with an average accuracy drop of 29.5% compared to when the objects are presented upright. This brittleness is largely unaffected by various design choices, such as training losses, architectures, dataset modalities, and data-augmentation schemes. However, networks trained on very large datasets substantially outperform others, with the best network tested—Noisy Student trained on JFT-300M—showing a relatively small accuracy drop of only 14.5% on unusual poses. Nevertheless, a visual inspection of the failures of Noisy Student reveals a remaining gap in robustness with humans. Furthermore, combining multiple object transformations—3D-rotations and scaling—further degrades the performance of all networks. Our results provide another measurement of the robustness of deep networks to consider when using them in the real world. Code and datasets are available at
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAAAI-23 Technical Tracks 1
EditorsBrian Williams, Yiling Chen, Jennifer Neville
PublisherAAAI Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-57735-880-0
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2023
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventAAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence - Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, United States
Duration: 7 Feb 202314 Feb 2023
Conference number: 37

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 37th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2023
ISSN (Electronic)2374-3468


ConferenceAAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence
Abbreviated titleAAAI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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