THE year is 2019. 

We can yell at an electronic device to switch on the telly, use gestures to turn down its volume, and even have a conversation with a real robot citizen. If you aren’t convinced yet, here’s why smart cars with AI are going to be your next best friend on the road.

Image credit: Mercedes-Benz

The Capabilities of Ai in Smart cars today

Voice assistants in cars are proving to be the next endeavour for integrating AI into our lives. Simply put, taking over rudimentary tasks such as pulling up your favourite playlist or getting you to the mall in the shortest time, is just the beginning.

Image credit: BMW

Upon closer inspection, manufacturers have discovered multi-tasking on the go to be a rising demand. This means that AI will be crucial in incorporating that into a safer driving experience on the roads.

In fact, tech companies in Massachusetts like Nuance and Affectiva are working to roll out “empathetic” automotive AI platforms.

On top of giving you weather forecasts and appointment reminders, this AI will not only remember your favourite route to work, but also 1) pay attention to your habits and 2) interpret your mood based on tones and speech patterns.

Image credit: Mercedes-Benz

That means, your Bentley will know if you’re not a morning person, and will probably not remind you of that dreaded business dinner before noon. Had a long day? Your Mercedes-Benz might tell you a joke or two.

Has that gotten you excited yet? Here’s what you can look forward to seeing in automobiles in the times ahead.


The future of smart cars on the horizon

Image credit: Mercedes-Benz

Last year, Mercedes-Benz hooked up with Santa Clara-based company SoundHound to launch Houndify, powering its infotainment system (MBUX).

The MBUX is enhanced by its Speech-to-Meaning and Deep Meaning Understanding technologies to deliver unprecedented speed and accuracy in voice recognition and responses. This also enables its interface to understand context, such as the user’s location or previous queries.

“It’s not the human who has to adapt to the machine, but the other way around,”
Nils Schanz, Head of User Interaction and Voice Control at Daimler

For luxury brands like the German manufacturer, the in-vehicle user experience is just as valued as mechanical performance or vehicle design. Its A-Class’ new MBUX interface will run on this credo.

Image credit: BMW

Last year, we saw BMW unveiling its own AI service called the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.

But you can call it anything you want, and perhaps you’ll even forget that you’re talking to a machine. With machine learning technology, “It gets better and better every single day,” says Dieter May, BMW’s Senior Vice President for Digital Products and Services. 

Google Assistant
Image credit: Google

Audi and Volvo will be bringing the ubiquitous Google Assistant into their vehicles. So when it comes to tasks like accessing Spotify and adjusting seat temperatures — ask Google and you shall receive, quite literally.

It now seems that the future of this connected world will see more speech-centric developments as the next primary interface.

Whether these will become a real-life case of Ex Machina remains to be seen, but for now, users are willing to fork out serious money for the promise of easier driving — and hopefully in the near future, a friend to talk to.

This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia.

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