Voice assistant will clean up the car cockpit

January 10, 2018 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Bosch intends to reduce the clutter of control buttons, levers and stalks in the cockpit of today’s car. Much of the interaction between driver and car, the automotive supplier suggests, could be assumed by a virtual voice assistant.

Virtual voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa are currently conquering the homes. Bosch has a similar approach: Casey, the electronic pillion passenger and voice assistant could make driving more comfortable and safe. The innovation lies in the way Casey works: While existing voice control schemes, for example for navigation systems and infotainment units, are closely tied to the menu structure of the respective device, Casey understands natural language and moderately complex phrases.

Thus, it will greatly reduce the type of driver distraction caused by the complex user interfaces of today’s vehicles. In this context, the automotive supplier quoted a study from Allianz Insurance’s technology center which unveiled that 74 percent of the drivers are distracted if they set navigation targets, air condition or take a call. This distraction, the insurance company writes, is one of the most common causes of accidents.

In contrast to similar services like Alexa or Siri, Casey does not need an internet connection; all processing is handled locally, Bosch explained. The algorithms run on the infotainment control unit or head unit of the respective car. The voice control software is part of a new concept: Bosch plans to combine all HMI functions in a single computer. This would make it possible to synchronize infotainment, instrument cluster and further display units in a matter that information is displayed and controlled throughout the entire vehicle in terms of timing and content.

Customers – car makers – who wish to integrate their own voice control scheme can do so, Bosch explained. Casey does not only recognize local accents and dialects but masters 30 global languages (it can speak English with British, American, Australian or South African accent, a Bosch spokesperson said. The artificial intelligence running on Bosch’s HMI computer makes the system context sensitive.

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