SoundHound Integrates Houndify Voice Platform into Kia Cars
Voice AI platform developer SoundHound is partnering with Kia Motors India to add its Houndify voice interface to the Kia Seltos. Drivers in a Seltos SUV will now be able to control several elements of the vehicle by voice.
Voice in the Vehicle
The Kia Seltos’ new voice interface is powered by SoundHound’s Houndify platform but is specifically built for the car. People in the car can make phone calls, control media systems, or ask for directions and weather conditions. The voice assistant only understands English, especially Indian-English accents. Vehicles with the new voice assistant started shipping earlier this month, and new features and additional language support are already in the works.
The AI is designed to understand more casual conversation styles than is usual for voice assistants. In addition to ordering the car to turn on the air conditioning or heat, or asking for a specific temperature, they can say “I feel hot” or “I feel cold.”
SoundHound Catching Cars
The Kia Seltos is only the latest of SoundHound’s automotive partners. The company worked with Hyundai to launch Houndify on the Hyundai Venue SUV earlier this summer as the first voice-enabled SUV in India. SoundHound has also installed its platform carse produced by Honda, PSA Groupe, and Mercedes. Rumors about the partnership with Kia surfaced last year, but this is the first Kia vehicle to have SoundHound technology inside.
India is becoming a hot market for smart and connected devices. Bose smart sunglasses and JBL headphones with voice assistant included are supported in India. And, along with Kia and SoundHound, there’s the more expensive Morris Garages MG Hector SUV with a voice assistant it developed.
For SoundHound, cars are just one of vertical it wants to integrate with Houndify. The company teamed up with Samsung subsidiary Harman Professional Solutions in June to bring voice assistants to hotel rooms in a global pilot. SoundHound also powers Anki’s Vector robot and Pandora’s voice mode. As the underlying technology, Houndify can be flexible enough for a range of industries without having to compete for direct consumer access like Amazon, Google, and other major voice assistant developers do. Companies who want to hang on to control of their data also prefer Houndify as an option over the bigger names for that reason. SoundHound, with $215 million in funding as of last year, and a slew of new partners and potential revenue streams, will likely continue its deluge of new variations of Houndify for some time to come.