The automotive industry is among the top spaces for Internet of Things (IoT) adoption. “New automotive technologies are changing the way we think, live and drive,” IFA states in the official press release announcing its SHIFT Automotive Convention. We had the chance to present our Dragon Drive Demo to several journalists in Berlin during IFA and talk to them about the future of human-machine interaction, IoT and conversational AI in the car. While on the airplane to Berlin, I took some time to think about how the car, the home and mobile devices are more and more connected with each other in a singular eco-system, and how car manufacturers are taking over former digital tech trade fairs such as IFA or CES. This brought to mind the famous quote by Apple SVPO Jeff Williams, who called the car the “ultimate mobile device.” Let’s look at some ways his assessment rings true.
1. Cars: Mobility and mobile devices
The car is becoming the ultimate AI platform, playing a special role in the IoT. Equipped with a multitude of sensors and functionalities, it will serve as both a mobile sensor and a gateway connected to the environment, other cars and the driver (now turned passenger). As a result, the car will become the ultimate device that carries us around safely, while assisting us with all kinds of driving-related and non-driving-related demands and giving us access to the whole digital eco-system.
2. Embedded platforms with selective cloud connection
Cars are becoming powerful computers themselves, using advanced chipsets, graphics and AI processors. As data is the new oil, data breaches in the car are very dangerous and can directly impact driving safety. Hybrid solutions like Nuance’s Dragon Drive platform make use of the increasing computing power in the car and process significant amounts of in-vehicle data. Such advanced functionalities allow for safe and secure control of in-car features and offer fallback solutions when there is zero or low internet connectivity available.
3. Voice-control in the car: More than a convenience feature
Voice-control and voice interaction are the go-to technologies for smart speakers and smart devices. They enable access to a whole world of goods, services and functionalities. In a car, voice-enabled automotive assistants take on new kinds of roles:
4. Autonomous driving will change the way people interact with cars
Certain new technologies – like additional sensors and cameras – are becoming mandatory in autonomous vehicles to monitor the environment, the vehicle cabin, the driver and passengers. These technologies can be used to enhance the user experience, to add functionalities or to implement additional modalities for the human-machine interaction. New features like gaze or gesture detection – as demonstrated in Berlin with our Dragon Drive showcase – allow effortless engagement with the car and the environment outside the car. In addition, multimodal alerting will optimize safety by combining vibration, visual cues, and auditory prompts to tell drivers it’s time to take over.
5. Advanced interoperability
For car manufacturers, seamless interoperability of the automotive assistant with third-party services and devices is key to incorporating advanced features their customers demand and expect. As a result, the car is becoming a gateway to a growing variety of services and assistants, while car manufacturers stay in control over the driving-related functionalities and the brand-specific user experience.
6. User expectations favor cross-industry benchmarking
As cars become more connected, a whole new level of benchmarking is being introduced: Critics and drivers are judging cars not only for their core driving-related features like agility, quality, safety and comfort, but also for the capabilities of the infotainment system. Now, people compare the vehicle to the well-known smart mobile and home assistants, acknowledging that the car – or at least the infotainment system – has become a mobile assistant of its own.