Virtual voice assistant is not “reserved” only for business, automating communication with customers of banks, insurance companies, telecommunication operators or e-shops. Recently, leading car manufacturers have noticed a considerable potential for their application in the automotive. First of all, they make sure that the driver can use the potential of on-board infotainment systems much faster and in a safer way. Secondly, the also guarantee that the driver does not feel lonely! It is a real revolution, manufacturers are taking advantage of the potential of artificial intelligence in the automotive industry.
Virtual Assistant understands without extensive explanations
In the race for the most functional tool communicating with the driver using voice, two representatives of popular brands have recently started competing with each other. Of course, these are the iconic BMW and Mercedes-Benz. This is, obviously, an example of healthy competition that will result in more voice-activated improvements.
Mercedes-Benz has decided to cooperate with SoundHound, a company that has been on the market for 13 years. The Americans undertook to “teach” conversation using natural language processing and artificial intelligence tools. The car will be ready to start a conversation at any time by listening to the phrase “Hey, Mercedes”, which activates the vehicle’s communication interface, asking the owner how it can help. Its capabilities are huge. Above all, contrary to the previous attempts to adapt similar solutions in passenger cars, it is not necessary to address it in the most formal way, i.e. in a descriptive way explaining what actions should be taken.
The virtual assistant does not need to be told “please, set the car temperature to 26 degrees”. Hey Mercedes, I’m a little cold” is enough to immediately increase the heating intensity by a few degrees. But this is just one of the numerous ways in which a Mercedes-Benz driver with an MBUX system can benefit from it. Once the right command is heard, it will change any of the parameters in the car’s settings. This applies to things like suspension stiffness, automatic transmission mode and windscreen wipers sensitivity. The virtual assistant also shows the driver interesting information on the Head-Up Display.
Constant communication with the network and the location of the car allows for such features as booking a room in a nearby hotel or a table in a restaurant chosen from among the suggested ones within a given radius or checking the prices of fuel at a filling station that we will pass in a few kilometers. The assistant will also answer the question about the score of the last match of his or her favorite football team and check the cinema schedule in the city. Another advantage is that the assistant follows a private calendar – if necessary, the assistant will remind the driver of an important meeting.
Artificial intelligence in a car – does the car understand?
Although all this sounds impressive, it must be said that it is still only a part of the potential of car virtual assistants. And to mention that in this struggle for leadership in the development of this new technology, BMW is taking the lead. The virtual assistant was presented at the
TechCruch Disrupt 2018 SF conference. After the conference, it was said that BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant was a better version of the SI assistant.
In this case, the virtual assistant does not have to be called with the “Hey BMW” command. – we can give it a name of our choice. This is a nice accent, especially for drivers who used to name their vehicles. This means that BMW Interface reacts to the words “Hey (any name)” and is ready to cooperate immediately. Turning to the system with the words “I’m tired” will result in an immediate thermal change. In cars with multicolored and customisable ambient LED backlighting, the car will change it to more vivid colors. It will also switch the music to rock or electronic rhythms and slightly reduce the temperature of the air conditioning. Over time, the BMW interface becomes more and more familiar with the driver’s preferences. After a few trips, it knows which heating temperature the driver likes and to which destinations navigate. The car interprets which places are frequently visited, taking into account the day of the week and the time of day.
Voicebot takes care of the comfort of use
With the current announcements of virtual car assistants, the BMW and Mercedes race will definitely be worth following. There should also no doubt that such developments will be introduced by other car brands. According to a study by Capgemini, as many as 85% of drivers want to use the voice assistants on the road.
From our point of view, it is a very good sign that virtual voicebot assistant are not only the future of customer service. It is also a tool that improves the comfort of our daily life.