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Assignment using auction global nearest neighbor



[assignments,unassignedrows,unassignedcolumns] = assignauction(costmatrix,costofnonassignment) returns a table of assignments of detections to tracks derived based on the forward/reverse auction algorithm. The auction algorithm finds a suboptimal solution to the global nearest neighbor (GNN) assignment problem by minimizing the total cost of assignment. While suboptimal, the auction algorithm is faster than the Munkres algorithm for large GNN assignment problems, for example, when there are more than 50 rows and columns in the cost matrix.

The cost of each potential assignment is contained in the cost matrix, costmatrix. Each matrix entry represents the cost of a possible assignments. Matrix rows represent tracks and columns represent detections. All possible assignments are represented in the cost matrix. The lower the cost, the more likely the assignment is to be made. Each track can be assigned to at most one detection and each detection can be assigned to at most one track. If the number of rows is greater than the number of columns, some tracks are unassigned. If the number of columns is greater than the number of rows, some detections are unassigned. You can set an entry of costmatrix to Inf to prohibit an assignment.

costofnonassignment represents the cost of leaving tracks or detections unassigned. Higher values increase the likelihood that every existing object is assigned.

The function returns a list of unassigned tracks, unassignedrows, and a list of unassigned detections, unassignedcolumns.


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Use assignAuction to assign three detections to two tracks.

Start with two predicted track locations in x-y coordinates.

tracks = [1,1; 2,2];

Assume three detections are received. At least one detection will not be assigned.

dets = [1.1, 1.1; 2.1, 2.1; 1.5, 3];

Construct a cost matrix by defining the cost of assigning a detection to a track as the Euclidean distance between them. Set the cost of non-assignment to 0.2.

for i = size(tracks, 1):-1:1
    delta = dets - tracks(i, :);
    costMatrix(i, :) = sqrt(sum(delta .^ 2, 2));
costofnonassignment = 0.2;

Use the Auction algorithm to assign detections to tracks.

[assignments, unassignedTracks, unassignedDetections] = ...

Display the assignments.

   1   1
   2   2

Show that there are no unassigned tracks.


Display the unassigned detections.


Plot detection to track assignments.

plot(tracks(:, 1), tracks(:, 2), '*', dets(:, 1), dets(:, 2), 'o')
hold on
xlim([0, 4])
ylim([0, 4])
legend('tracks', 'detections')
assignStr = strsplit(num2str(1:size(assignments,1)));
text(tracks(assignments(:, 1),1) + 0.1, ...
    tracks(assignments(:, 1),2) - 0.1, assignStr);
text(dets(assignments(:, 2),1) + 0.1, ...
    dets(assignments(:, 2),2) - 0.1, assignStr);
text(dets(unassignedDetections(:),1) + 0.1, ...
    dets(unassignedDetections(:),2) + 0.1, 'unassigned');

The track to detection assignments are:

  1. Detection 1 is assigned to track 1.

  2. Detection 2 is assigned to track 2.

  3. Detection 3 is not assigned.

Input Arguments

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Cost matrix, specified as an M-by-N matrix. M is the number of tracks to be assigned and N is the number of detections to be assigned. Each entry in the cost matrix contains the cost of a track and detection assignment. The matrix may contain Inf entries to indicate that an assignment is prohibited. The cost matrix cannot be a sparse matrix.

Data Types: single | double

Cost of non-assignment, specified as a scalar. The cost of non-assignment represents the cost of leaving tracks or detections unassigned. Higher values increase the likelihood that every object is assigned. The value cannot be set to Inf.


The costofnonassignment is half of the maximum cost that a successful assignment can have.

Data Types: single | double

Output Arguments

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Assignment of detections to track, returned as an integer-valued L-by-2 matrix where L is the number of assignments. The first column of the matrix contains the assigned track indices and the second column contains the assigned detection indices.

Data Types: uint32

Indices of unassigned tracks, returned as an integer-valued P-by-1 column vector.

Data Types: uint32

Indices of unassigned detections, returned as an integer-valued Q-by-1 column vector.

Data Types: uint32


[1] Samuel S. Blackman and Popoli, R. Design and Analysis of Modern Tracking Systems. Artech House: Norwood, MA. 1999.

Extended Capabilities

C/C++ Code Generation
Generate C and C++ code using MATLAB® Coder™.

Version History

Introduced in R2018b