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This paper presents a novel method for semantic segmentation and object recognition in a road scene using a hierarchical bag-of-textons method. Current driving-assistance systems rely on multiple vehicle-mounted cameras to perceive the road environment. The proposed method relies on integrated color and near-infrared images and uses the hierarchical bag-of-textons method to recognize the spatial configuration of objects and extract contextual information from the background. The histogram of the hierarchical bag-of-textons is concatenated to textons extracted from a multiscale grid window to automatically learn the spatial context for semantic segmentation. Experimental results show that the proposed method has better segmentation accuracy than the conventional bag-of-textons method. By integrating it with other scene interpretation systems, the proposed system can be used to understand road scenes for vehicle environment perception.