Local Peak Enhancement for In-Car Speech Recognition in Noisy Environment

Osamu ICHIKAWA  Takashi FUKUDA  Masafumi NISHIMURA  

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E91-D   No.3   pp.635-639
Publication Date: 2008/03/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: Special Section LETTER (Special Section on Robust Speech Processing in Realistic Environments)
Category: 
Keyword: 
harmonics,  formant,  speech enhancement,  noise reduction,  speech recognition,  

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Summary: 
The accuracy of automatic speech recognition in a car is significantly degraded in a very low SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) situation such as "Fan high" or "Window open". In such cases, speech signals are often buried in broadband noise. Although several existing noise reduction algorithms are known to improve the accuracy, other approaches that can work with them are still required for further improvement. One of the candidates is enhancement of the harmonic structures in human voices. However, most conventional approaches are based on comb filtering, and it is difficult to use them in practical situations, because their assumptions for F0 detection and for voiced/unvoiced detection are not accurate enough in realistic noisy environments. In this paper, we propose a new approach that does not rely on such detection. An observed power spectrum is directly converted into a filter for speech enhancement, by retaining only the local peaks considered to be harmonic structures in the human voice. In our experiments, this approach reduced the word error rate by 17% in realistic automobile environments. Also, it showed further improvement when used with existing noise reduction methods.