Hyundai Venue SUV Launches in India with Voice-Enablement Powered by SoundHound
Audio and speech recognition company SoundHound partnered with Hyundai to bring their voice AI platform Houndify to the new Hyundai Venue SUV. The Venue started shipping in India last month, making it the first voice-enabled and smart connected SUV available to Indian consumers, and it will arrive in the US this Fall. “Hyundai is a pioneering partner of SoundHound Inc. and we are thrilled to be part of this major milestone for both the auto and tech industries in the Indian market,” said Keyvan Mohajer, co-founder & CEO of SoundHound Inc.
Hyundai India is calling the Venue, available in five variants, the “future of connected mobility.” Drivers push a button on the steering wheel to activate voice recognition which pairs with select Android & Apple smartphones. The Houndify-powered SUV understands English and Indian-English accents so that Indian drivers can speak in their natural voices. The Venue starts at Rs 6.5 lakh, or about $9,500 USD.
SOUNDHOUND’S MISSION TO HOUNDIFY EVERYTHING
California-based SoundHound’s Houndify has a growing list of strategic automotive partners that include Honda, Mercedes, and PSA Groupe. Houndify believes that “Voice AI is redefining in-car experiences by making them safer, smarter, more natural and hands-free.” They state their mission is to “Houndify everything” by integrating voice and conversational intelligence into products. Houndify has existing partnerships across other categories: powering Pandora’s voice interface for music streaming and Motorola’s voice assistant Moto Voice.
Last year Voicebot spoke to SoundHound CEO Keyvan Mohajer in an exclusive interview following the company’s May 2018 funding round of $100 million. Mohajer discussed the conception of Houndify and the Hound voice assistant. You can listen to the interview here.
VOICE ADVANCEMENTS AND COMPETITION IN INDIA
British automotive manufacturer Morris Garages, or MG, launched the MG Hector SUV in India around the same time as Hyundai’s Venue. Like the Venue, the MG “internet car” understands Indian-English pronunciation and has Natural Language Understanding to recognize various accents. The Vector’s introductory price is Rs 12.18 lakh, or about $17,700 USD and almost double the price of Hyundai’s Venue.
Last month we reported two voice supported devices launching in India, Bose smart sunglasses and JBL headphones with voice assistant connectivity. Alexa also announced plans to expand support for Hindi and other Indian languages. Although Amazon provided no launch date for the expansion, it’s clear that India is a market their development teams are focused on.