Chinese Carmaker Byton Adds Native Voice Assistant by Aiqudo
Voice AI developer Aiqudo will power the native voice assistant in Byton vehicles, the company announced at CES this week. The Chinese electric carmaker’s eponymous voice assistant will be able to control elements of the car’s environment as well as launching apps from a mobile device. Byton’s new voice assistant will be an alternative, not a replacement, for Alexa in vehicles that have already integrated Amazon’s voice assistant.
Electric Voice Assistant
Aiqudo’s Voice to Action platform will power the Byton voice assistant behind the scenes, with the driver saying “Hey Byton” to awaken the voice assistant. As is usually the case with automotive voice assistants, drivers will be able to make calls, pull up navigation, and play audio content using their voice. The voice assistant goes beyond just running the car, however. Shopping and other financial transactions can also be done hands-free, as the voice assistant can launch and run apps from a mobile device. Voice app developers will be able to create and adapt their software for use in Byton cars using Aiqudo’s Action Kit. The idea is to make third-party apps perform as well as native ones.
“A seamless voice experience is integral to BYTON’s groundbreaking user experience and Aiqudo Voice will make accessing your favorite apps convenient and safe,” Byton vice president of digital engineering Jeff Chung said in a statement. “Aiqudo’s white label solution allows us to explore new possibilities with our expanding partnerships in the BYTON digital ecosystem.”
Aiqudo Speaks for Cars
Aiqudo’s voice engine understands seven languages and can be applied to a range of devices. Since it was founded in 2017, the company raised $5.2 million and now provides the software infrastructure for the Hello Moto voice assistant for Motorola. Aiqudo sees automobile voice assistants as a profitable market to pursue.
“We believe that voice will soon be the primary way people interact with their digital world,” Aiqudo CEO John Foster said. “The in-car experience is a prime use case demonstrating the power of voice. Customers can now drive safely, undistracted and hands-free, and still use their favorite apps just by using their voice.”
There’s plenty of reason to be confident in the growth of car voice assistants. Close to three-quarters of drivers will use one by 2022 according to a Capgemini Research Institute report. Direct integration with white label platforms like Aiqudo or Honda’s voice assistant, which uses SoundHound’s Houndify platform, is only one way to bring voice assistants into cars. Alexa is available in a growing number of cars, including some by Byton as well as new partners Lamborghini and Rivian. Adding voice assistants to cars that lack them can also be done using devices like the now international Amazon Echo Auto. Cerence, one of the biggest platforms for car voice assistants, even debuted a tool for people to record custom voices as their assistant in the car. The market for car voice assistants is becoming more competitive, but there’s still space for startups like Aiqudo to stake a claim.