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Your Car Could Become Your Virtual PA

We have become used to cars that understand what we say, but experts predict that in future they may also know how we feel – sometimes without us having to say a word.

Nearly 90 percent of all new cars are expected to offer voice recognition capability by 2022. The next step for the cars of tomorrow could be to pick up on tiny changes in our facial expression, as well as modulations and inflections in our speaking voice. Advanced systems equipped with sophisticated microphones and in-car cameras could learn which songs we like to hear when we are stressed, as well as when we prefer to enjoy silence. Interior lighting could also complement our mood.

Fatima Vital, senior director at Marketing Automotive, Nuance Communications says, “We’re well on the road to developing the empathetic car which might tell you a joke to cheer you up, offer advice when you need it, remind you of birthdays and keep you alert on a long drive.”

Cloud-based voice control is anticipated to be available on 75 percent of new cars by 2022, and it is predicted future systems would evolve into personal assistants that shuffle appointments and order takeaways when drivers are held up in traffic jams.

Movie fans will recall in the film Her, Scarlett Johansson’s character as a voice recognition system, Samantha, catered to Theodore Twombly’s every command and learned his mood, needs and wants just from the sound of his voice. Someday soon, your car could do something similar.

Research in progress

A research project Ford is currently running with RWTH Aachen University includes using multiple microphones to improve speech processing and reduce the effect of external noise and potential disruptions. Nuance Communications says that within the next two years, voice control systems could prompt us with: “Would you like to order flowers for your mum for Mother’s Day?” and “Shall I choose a less congested but slower route home?” or “You’re running low on your favourite chocolate and your favourite store has some in stock. Want to stop by and pick some up?”

Future gesture and eye control would enable drivers to answer calls by nodding their head, adjust the volume with short twisting motions, and set the navigation with a quick glance at their destination on a map.

Will you cheat with your car?

So is there a danger we might fall for our advanced voice recognition systems, like in Her? Dominic Watt, senior lecturer, Department of Language and Linguistic Science at University of York says, “Lots of people already love their cars, but with new in-car systems that learn and adapt, we can expect some seriously strong relationships to form.”

“The car will soon be our assistant, travel companion and sympathetic ear, and you’ll be able to discuss everything and ask anything, to the point many of us might forget we’re even talking to a machine.”

At Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, in Barcelona, next week (first week of March 2017), Ford will reveal the next advances in mobility and connectivity.

For more information, visit Auto News.

Source: Ford. Image: Pixabay

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