On the Robustness of Speech Emotion Recognition for Human-Robot Interaction with Deep Neural Networks


Speech emotion recognition (SER) is an important aspect of effective human-robot collaboration and received a lot of attention from the research community. For example, many neural network-based architectures were proposed recently and pushed the performance to a new level. However, the applicability of such neural SER models trained only on in-domain data to noisy conditions is currently under-researched. In this work, we evaluate the robustness of state-of-the-art neural acoustic emotion recognition models in human-robot interaction scenarios. We hypothesize that a robot’s ego noise, room conditions, and various acoustic events that can occur in a home environment can significantly affect the performance of a model. We conduct several experiments on the iCub robot platform and propose several novel ways to reduce the gap between the model’s performance during training and testing in real-world conditions. Furthermore, we observe large improvements in the model performance on the robot and demonstrate the necessity of introducing several data augmentation techniques like overlaying background noise and loudness variations to improve the robustness of the neural approaches.

International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2018