Waymo Creates 3D Model of San Francisco Neighbourhood from 2.8 Million Static Images

Here is the research paper, “Block-NeRF: Scalable Large Scene Neural View Synthesis”.


We present Block-NeRF, a variant of Neural Radiance Fields that can represent large-scale environments. Specifically, we demonstrate that when scaling NeRF to render city-scale scenes spanning multiple blocks, it is vital to decompose the scene into individually trained NeRFs. This decomposition decouples rendering time from scene size, enables rendering to scale to arbitrarily large environments, and allows per-block updates of the environment. We adopt several architectural changes to make NeRF robust to data captured over months under different environmental conditions. We add appearance embeddings, learned pose refinement, and controllable exposure to each individual NeRF, and introduce a procedure for aligning appearance between adjacent NeRFs so that they can be seamlessly combined. We build a grid of Block-NeRFs from 2.8 million images to create the largest neural scene representation to date, capable of rendering an entire neighborhood of San Francisco.

An earlier post here on 2021-12-26, “HyperNeRF: Three-Dimensional Models from Moving Camera Images”, discussed simpler applications of this technology.