The Airbus Air Traffic Control speech recognition 2018 challenge: towards ATC automatic transcription and call sign detection

Thomas Pellegrini, Jérôme Farinas, Estelle Delpech, François Lancelot

In this paper, we describe the outcomes of the challenge organized and run by Airbus and partners in 2018. The challenge consisted of two tasks applied to Air Traffic Control (ATC) speech in English: 1) automatic speech-to-text transcription, 2) call sign detection (CSD). The registered participants were provided with 40 hours of speech along with manual transcriptions. Twenty-two teams submitted predictions on a five hour evaluation set. ATC speech processing is challenging for several reasons: high speech rate, foreign-accented speech with a great diversity of accents, noisy communication channels. The best ranked team achieved a 7.62% Word Error Rate and a 82.41% CSD F1-score. Transcribing pilots' speech was found to be twice as harder as controllers' speech. Remaining issues towards solving ATC ASR are also discussed.

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