DaimlerChrysler Research and Technology 

SPEECH UNDERSTANDING SYSTEMS

For human beings language is the most important means of communication. But far beyond this it also forms the basis of our thought processes. We use language to formulate concepts, to express relationships between them, and to build up our store of human knowledge.
The future of information science will therefore be characterized by intensive use of natural language and speech for man machine interaction and by advanced automatic assistant systems for handling human knowledge, which is mainly based on language. Machines will automatically recognize the words of human speech, understand what is being said, and give answers in synthetically generated speech. Thus they will have access to verbal information and be able to assist us in a dialog with their specific capabilities.
The speech understanding group of Daimler-Benz is since many years active in research in all these fields of speech understanding and speech and language processing. The main areas of these activities are short described in the following documents. Automatic Speech Recognition and Linguistic Analysis
Automatic recognition of spoken words is the prerequisite for a large number of applications. Simple systems capable of recognizing a few hundred words can be used for such things as operating entertainment in the car, appliances, simple navigation systems in the car and interactive voice response systems over the telephone. With systems that can recognize several thousand words it becomes possible to realize things like a voice-actuated typewriter where the user simply dictates what he wants written down.
Word recognition is however only the first of several steps whose ultimate goal is to identify the meaning of what is being said, thus making true information processing of speech possible. Intensive research in linguistic analysis of spoken sentences or at least phrases is necessary to analyze the syntax and the semantics. Finally of course this has to be integrated into the pragmatics and applications of speech dialogue systems. Especially the linguistic analysis of spontaneously spoken sentences has to care about the analysis of even syntactically incorrect parts and it should in spite of this correctly extract the meaning. Automatic Speech Generation and Synthesis
The results of speech recognition must be verbally confirmed. Automatic speech generation and synthesis of spoken language makes this possible. The necessary process has first to generate a linguistic phrase from the semantic description and afterwards this phrase must be transferred into a speech signal. Reading machines can be constructed which make it possible to get spoken information from documents transmitted over e-mail or the Internet or from a databank. One can even build reading machines for the blind, or -what will become the most important thing - generate speech for response from a dialog system.Dialogue Systems
In our research activities we are also studying the problem of how to construct man-machine dialogues. Human beings converse in a very free form whereas machines prefer very rigidly structured dialogues. Here an acceptable compromise between these two extremes must be found for the man-machine dialogue. The long range goal is of course to make the free form of human beings accessible to the machine. InfoPort
At the bottom line applications utilizing speech-understanding systems play a critical role in our research activities. The aim of the InfoPort Project is to show what future possibilities will be opened up when an integrated approach is taken to processing natural language information in both spoken and written form using the latest tools in information science. The goal here is to correctly classify the profusion of information which we receive daily and pass on more or less modified and processed, make it easily accessible, and also to supplement our limited human memory.
InfoPort may be thought of as a personal assistance system which evaluates all incoming channels of natural language information, generates cross references, stores relevant information, and then finally makes this information available in spoken and written form. Dialogue elements ease the access to this information. InfoPort, the integrated information assistant, points the way to the future of information science.

List of all the group members , including their phone and room numbers, E-mail addresses and personal Home Pages.

Recent publications of the group.


Speech Understanding Group
Daimler Benz Research & Technology
Wilhelm-Runge-Str. 11
89081 - Ulm - Germany
Phone: +49 - 731 - 505 -2142
Fax: +49 - 731 - 505- 41 05