Section: Partnerships and Cooperations

European Initiatives


  • Title: Vision and Hearing in Action

  • EU framework: FP7

  • Type: ERC Advanced Grant

  • Duration: February 2014 - January 2019

  • Coordinator: Inria

  • Inria contact: Radu Horaud

  • 'The objective of VHIA is to elaborate a holistic computational paradigm of perception and of perception-action loops. We plan to develop a completely novel twofold approach: (i) learn from mappings between auditory/visual inputs and structured outputs, and from sensorimotor contingencies, and (ii) execute perception-action interaction cycles in the real world with a humanoid robot. VHIA will achieve a unique fine coupling between methodological findings and proof-of-concept implementations using the consumer humanoid NAO manufactured in Europe. The proposed multimodal approach is in strong contrast with current computational paradigms influenced by unimodal biological theories. These theories have hypothesized a modular view, postulating quasi-independent and parallel perceptual pathways in the brain. VHIA will also take a radically different view than today's audiovisual fusion models that rely on clean-speech signals and on accurate frontal-images of faces; These models assume that videos and sounds are recorded with hand-held or head-mounted sensors, and hence there is a human in the loop who intentionally supervises perception and interaction. Our approach deeply contradicts the belief that complex and expensive humanoids (often manufactured in Japan) are required to implement research ideas. VHIA's methodological program addresses extremely difficult issues: how to build a joint audiovisual space from heterogeneous, noisy, ambiguous and physically different visual and auditory stimuli, how to model seamless interaction, how to deal with high-dimensional input data, and how to achieve robust and efficient human-humanoid communication tasks through a well-thought tradeoff between offline training and online execution. VHIA bets on the high-risk idea that in the next decades, social robots will have a considerable economical impact, and there will be millions of humanoids, in our homes, schools and offices, which will be able to naturally communicate with us.

    Website: https://team.inria.fr/perception/projects/erc-vhia/


  • Title: Vision and Hearing in Action Laboratory

  • EU framework: H2020

  • Type: ERC Proof of Concept

  • Duration: February 2018 - January 2019

  • Coordinator: Inria

  • Inria contact: Radu Horaud

  • The objective of VHIALab is the development and commercialization of software packages enabling a robot companion to easily and naturally interact with people. The methodologies developed in ERC VHIA propose state of the art solutions to human-robot interaction (HRI) problems in a general setting and based on audio-visual information. The ambitious goal of VHIALab will be to build software packages based on VHIA, thus opening the door to commercially available multi-party multi-modal human-robot interaction. The methodology investigated in VHIA may well be viewed as a generalization of existing single-user spoken dialog systems. VHIA enables a robot (i) to detect and to locate speaking persons, (ii) to track several persons over time, (iii) to recognize their behavior, and (iv) to extract the speech signal of each person for subsequent speech recognition and face-to-face dialog. These methods will be turned into software packages compatible with a large variety of companion robots. VHIALab will add a strong valorization potential to VHIA by addressing emerging and new market sectors. Industrial collaborations set up in VHIA will be strengthened.