TextScanner: Reading Characters in Order for Robust Scene Text Recognition
Driven by deep learning and a large volume of data, scene text recognition has evolved rapidly in recent years. Formerly, RNN-attention-based methods have dominated this field, but suffer from the problem of attention drift in certain situations. Lately, semantic segmentation based algorithms have proven effective at recognizing text of different forms (horizontal, oriented and curved). However, these methods may produce spurious characters or miss genuine characters, as they rely heavily on a thresholding procedure operated on segmentation maps. To tackle these challenges, we propose in this paper an alternative approach, called TextScanner, for scene text recognition. TextScanner bears three characteristics: (1) Basically, it belongs to the semantic segmentation family, as it generates pixel-wise, multi-channel segmentation maps for character class, position and order; (2) Meanwhile, akin to RNN-attention-based methods, it also adopts RNN for context modeling; (3) Moreover, it performs paralleled prediction for character position and class, and ensures that characters are transcripted in the correct order. The experiments on standard benchmark datasets demonstrate that TextScanner outperforms the state-of-the-art methods. Moreover, TextScanner shows its superiority in recognizing more difficult text such as Chinese transcripts and aligning with target characters.