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AW’s Future of Automotive HMI briefing shows industry focus on voice recognition

Automotive World has recently published a new report, giving a unique insight into what OEMs and suppliers believe will shape the future of automotive HMI over the coming years. The Future of Automotive HMI briefing features exclusive interviews with OEMs, suppliers, analysts and governing bodies, focusing on the ongoing debate between built-in, brought-in and beamed-in, … Continued

Automotive World has recently published a new report, giving a unique insight into what OEMs and suppliers believe will shape the future of automotive HMI over the coming years. The Future of Automotive HMI briefing features exclusive interviews with OEMs, suppliers, analysts and governing bodies, focusing on the ongoing debate between built-in, brought-in and beamed-in, the automotive HMI, safety and beyond 2020.

One of the key issues highlighted in the report was the focus of both OEMs and suppliers towards improving voice recognition in vehicles, despite much more work being needed. The use of voice does remain a contentious issue, but many think it will be the prevalent technology going forward.

The general consensus is that voice recognition will be used to perform more complex tasks in a vehicle as it can help bypass many menu stages that previously would have left drivers’ eyes off the road for long periods of time. Kyle Walworth, Vice President of Automotive Solutions and Strategy at Symphony Teleca, said, “I think voice has a big future. I think for some of the more complex items, clearly, like navigating metadata and navigation and destination entry, voice is a really good fit. It’s not a fit for simpler functions though, such as opening your window or changing the climate control temperature.”

Ford drivers with SYNC¨ AppLinkª
Ford’s SYNC system has been extensively tested globally, taking into account regional accents, but in general systems tend to work better with a connected vehicle that has constant internet access.

With one of the benefits of voice recognition being that drivers can keep their eyes on the road, there will need to be further research into whether voice is distracting in other ways. A spokesperson for NHTSA told Automotive World, “NHTSA is currently conducting research on voice-based systems with the goal of producing Phase 3 Driver Distraction Guidelines. It remains to be seen whether there are any significant ‘mind off the road’ issues that manifest with voice based HMI systems. Regardless of the particular technology or HMI type, NHTSA is primarily concerned that drivers dedicate sufficient focus and attention to the driving task.”

However, with all the benefits of voice recognition, there are potential problems with accents and languages. Ford’s SYNC system has been extensively tested globally, taking into account regional accents, but in general systems tend to work better with a connected vehicle that has constant internet access to an offboard server-based language database.

Alongside potential issues with language and accent, noise within the cockpit of vehicles is also a problem. Mike Reali, Senior Vice President, OEM Relations, NNG said, “Cars inherently make a noise, and people want to have their window down, or they have kids screaming in the back, so it’s very difficult. Siri is very good at picking up things when you’re relatively close, but that goes back to a giant database that keeps on getting better. Google may get better and better at it but I still think voice has five to ten years before it gets to a place where it’s dependable.”

While there needs to be further developments in hardware, software and connectivity, the industry’s focus on improving voice recognition and ensuring that cars are constantly connected to allow for the best functionality of a built-in userface highlights that voice recognition is a technology that is set to become more prevalent in vehicles.

Rachael Hogg

Follow this link to download your copy of AW’s Future of Automotive HMI briefing 

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