Daimler and BMW joining forces for a combined mobility service; pilot projects of car manufacturers offering subscription models for their vehicles; Volkswagen announcing “zero-emission” car sharing services from 2019 onwards: The automotive industry is currently facing disruptive changes and car manufacturers are constantly reassessing and transforming their car-ownership centered strategies to participate in and benefit from new shared mobility concepts that:
Our key objective is supporting our customers on this way and help them meet the user expectations and desires. In this series of two blog posts, I will discuss how conversational digital automotive assistants play a major role in shared mobility. We’ll first start with a closer look at available technologies that can help personalize the in-vehicle user experience, even without ownership.
Hybrid systems can make the difference
Nuance’s Dragon Drive platform combines embedded and cloud-based content and services to achieve fast performance, to be independent from an internet connection, and to deliver a seamless user experience. In addition, vehicle and sensor data can be accessed by embedded services without compromising safety or data security. This hybrid approach is most useful when shared mobility is considered: It allows to intelligently combine vehicle data such as maintenance status, and in-vehicle controls with external services and cloud-stored user profiles. As a result, users can benefit from a holistic and reoccurring user-experience across all touch points and get settled quickly in whichever car they are using.
Getting used to the vehicle
When starting fresh and new with a car, drivers and passengers need to get used to it and to all the functionalities it offers. When buying a car, this initial service is typically provided by the dealer, but for shared vehicles, smart car manuals included in the automotive assistant can play a key role. Leveraging advanced AI technologies, these smart car manuals enable drivers to gain information about vehicle features and the car’s current status. The interaction with the car manual can take place
- in question and answer mode,
- in the form of an introductory tour when stepping into the vehicle for the first time,
- as proactive alerts on vehicle status.
These various modes of voice-enabled interaction with the car manual will help users to get settled and will make the learning curve as smooth and short as possible.
Personalization of user experience
The current generation of automotive assistants already leverages artificial intelligence, including deep learning technologies, to learn about users’ preferences and create profiles to personalize their experiences. In combination with contextual and world knowledge, these systems help make well-informed decisions. Using voice biometrics, the system can even distinguish between different users. In combination with stored profiles in the cloud, this could be used to enable personalized features, so a command like, “Let’s drive to work” generates a personalized navigation result, even in a shared vehicle.
Today’s modern systems offer local functionality to save preferred settings for seating, steering wheel position, mirrors and more, allowing drivers to adjust to their personalized settings with just the tap of a fingertip. For shared vehicle purposes, these preferred settings could be stored in the cloud and enriched with further information such as preferred air conditioning setting or favorite radio station to personalize the user experience right from start.
Trust is becoming more important
Sharing a car also demands trust; drivers expect to find the car neat and clean and in good condition. In contrast to an owned vehicle, drivers aren’t in control of the vehicle’s maintenance, so they rely on the fleet operator to keep the vehicles maintained regularly and kept in good condition.
In addition, big amounts of data are generated during the reservation process and are very important for car-sharing companies to improve fleet availability. Users need to be assured that this data is safely stored and protected from cyber-attacks and will not be misused or transferred to third parties by the service provider.
Finally, users will upload or synchronize personal data – such as their phone book, playlists, calendars, etc. – to the vehicle during the reservation that is not relevant or necessary for the operator to access. This data must be safely removed by the end of the reservation.
Working with trusted partners and maintaining full control and responsibility for the generated data will help OEMs and car sharing providers to be transparent and reliable.
Consistent brand-specific user experience across the vehicle segments
More and more OEMs offer different types of subscription models to give drivers more flexibility and even to use vehicles from different vehicle segments. A seamless user experience across these different segments of the OEM’s brand might help drivers get settled in the individual vehicle. Here the automotive assistant can play a major role by delivering one common brand experience, the user is used to. This can enhance user preference in favor for a certain mobility service provider or car brand.
In addition to smart utilization of existing features provided by automotive assistants, a more holistic approach can be realized in form of a smart car-sharing application which takes the end-to-end experience of a car rental into consideration. Read more about this in my expert interview with Dr. Michael Kaisser, Senior Principal Innovation Manager at Nuance.