Voice recognition is now a huge part of our daily lives. From tech experts to children, just about anyone has come across these devices at some point by now. This phenomenon can be accrued to mega companies like Apple and Google creating and subsequently proliferating it globally. For example, consumers still use voice-recognition technology to perform menial, everyday tasks such as searching for the fastest route to their destination. This leads to many users underestimating the true potential of this modern-day technology and they haven’t come close to maximizing its capabilities. However, this also begs the question: if technology has gotten so advanced, why hasn’t voice-recognition been integrated with other forms of technology such as “smart” televisions? This is where the line gets blurred a little.
While yes, voice-automated machines offer a huge convenience to mankind, they can’t fulfill everything. Imagine if you assimilated voice command with a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner; you might be able to command it to turn on and off, but you’ll still need to clean the vacuum component once it gets too dirty. Thus, there are still certain limitations that voice-recognition is unable to compensate or overcome on our behalf just yet. Nonetheless, there are domains in which voice-command is making huge waves in and that is none other than the automotive industry.
Many cars nowadays come installed with in-car speech-activation systems. However, in what ways has the automotive industry been successful in capitalizing and integrating voice-recognition technology into cars? Well, it seems that necessity was the motivation for such innovation and here’s why.
The Usefulness of In-Car Speech Recognition
As society became more technologically-advanced, things like smartphones quickly became the norm in the early 2010s. Little did anyone know that the simple development of touchscreens for mobile phones would forever change the course of history. As much as smartphones bring a lot of convenience to us, we often think that we can be more efficient and multitask when in fact, we have become increasingly distracted and possess shorter attention spans than before. This false pretense of multitasking then results in many people being unable to fully accomplish a task. With relevance to the automotive industry, despite traffic laws forbidding us from using our phones while driving, many ignore them and do it anyway; with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a phone as they repeatedly shift their eyes back and forth in an attempt to watch the road and their screen simultaneously. We all know that this is just an accident waiting to happen so voice-activated technology can be seen as a godsend to solving this problem.
Voice-recognition enables drivers to access their smartphone functions (i.e. Google search) without having to avert their gaze off the roads. This way, their safety isn’t compromised but they still achieve the same results. But just who are the system pioneers in this field? Here are a few of the top companies today responsible for this technological assimilation.
CarPlay facilitates all the convenient benefits of your iOS system to your car’s touch-screen display. All you need to do is connect your iPhone to your car’s entertainment system and you’ll be quickly greeted by Apple’s familiar icons and its friendly, all-knowing assistant, Siri.
Subsequently, all you have to do to use it is press the voice button on your steering wheel and Siri will be at your every command. Furthermore, Apple has also announced its future collaborations with other developers to integrate more of your favorite apps into CarPlay; thus incorporating a more cohesive user interface.
Google Android Auto
If you’re not an Apple user, fret not. You’ll be relieved to know that Android is still the dominant smartphone operating system on the market. Thus, to accommodate this, Google has a stake in the voice-automated car business. What sets Google Android Auto apart from CarPlay is its dependence on a USB cable for connectivity and then using Bluetooth to perform phone activities through your car. Additionally, your Android Auto will also activate a safety feature to render your phone unusable while driving. With that being said, it doesn’t mean that the full control of your car is being administered through your phone; all of your vehicle’s key controls are still manually controllable. Thus far, only ten brands and 45 models have been known to undergo this in-car voice-recognition upgrade since 2016.
While Nuance might be less known compared to Apple or Android, it shouldn’t be easily dismissed. The Dragon Drive Automotive Assistant is a partnership between the Dragon Drive platform and Nuance, to cater to a holistic user experience utilizing Nuance’s voice, cloud and connectivity functions. The factor that differentiates Nuance from Siri or Google Assistant would be its ability to identify naturalistic voice patterns instead of requiring users to alter their tone into a more artificial (sometimes monotonous) voice command style.
Moreover, it has leverage over other competitors on the market because of its biometric feature that can distinguish between different voices. Lastly, it’s also highly adaptive — being able to “learn” your driving patterns and road behaviors in order to accommodate to your user experience. In general, Nuance is able to provide consumers with a more personalized experience that other voice-command systems might not be able to.
Apart from all these established technology companies collaborating with car manufacturers to blend the two worlds into one, manufacturers themselves have also been creating their own brand-specific systems. For example, Ford’s Sync and GM’s OnStar have their own proprietary onboard digital system. However, because their specialty lies in automaking, their attempts have achieved limited success. Furthermore, multiple cybersecurity concerns have been highlighted during their experiments.
In-Car Voice-Recognition Resources
If you need some help navigating your in-car voice-recognition technology, here are a few websites to answer your FAQs:
Building an Advanced Smart Home AI (PDF) — Stay up to date with the type of information that gets processed by companies for your smart home AI system to function.
Alexa Wake Word Dataset (Audio Download) — Download 24 custom multilingual Alexa wake word samples to discover the significance in data variances when it comes to customizing voice-recognition technology.
Regardless of what the future holds for in-car voice-recognition technology, safety will not be compromised for the sake of convenience. However, this does not guarantee a 100% hazard-free drive. It is still your responsibility as both drivers and users to drive safely on the road. Besides driving safely, another way to protect yourself and your vehicle is by buying trusty car insurance. Out of all the insurers out there, we’d recommend picking one that will tailor to your needs so that you never have to worry about what to do when mishaps arise. One such car insurer will definitely have to be Youi. After listening to and understanding your needs, Youi will propose the best possible tailored car insurance for your consideration. This is such that you’ll have comprehensive car insurance that will meet your needs and give you peace of mind when you drive.