Robotic Discovery of the Auditory Scene
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In this work, we describe an autonomous mobile robotic system for finding and investigating ambient noise sources in the environment. Motivated by the large negative effect of ambient noise sources on robot audition, the long-term goal is to provide awareness of the auditory scene to a robot, so that it may more effectively act to filter out the interference or re-position itself to increase the signal-to-noise ratio. Here, we concentrate on the discovery of new sources of sound through the use of mobility and directed investigation. This is performed in a two-step process. In the first step, a mobile robot first explores the surrounding acoustical environment, creating evidence grid representations to localize the most influential sound sources in the auditory scene. Then in the second step, the robot investigates each potential sound source location in the environment so as to improve the localization result, and identify volume and directionality characteristics of the sound source. Once every source has been investigated, a noise map of the entire auditory scene is created for use by the robot in avoiding areas of loud ambient noise when performing an auditory task.