Garmin Debuts New Voice AI-Powered Smart Displays for Truck

Garmin has rolled out a new line of its dēzl smart displays for trucks. The new devices are larger and come with an updated voice assistant and other AI-enabled features.

Keep on Truckin’

The dēzl smart displays are designed to provide truckers with services that make it easier for them to efficiently and safely transport their goods. The new versions come in 7, 8, and 10-inch display varieties, but share the same software. Along with Garmin’s usual navigation features, the dēzl smart displays contain details about popular routes for trucks and ways to customize a course based on the truck and what it is carrying. They also include Garmin’s load-to-dock guidance for loading and unloading the rig while avoiding public entrances. The Truck and Trailer Services directory is embedded in the device so that drivers can find stops with the amenities they want.

“The new dēzl navigators offer over-the-road truck drivers exactly what they’ve been advocating for behind the wheel—extra-large navigation screens that clearly display the information that matters most to professional truckers,” Garmin vice president of global consumer sales Dan Bartel said in a statement. “These navigators also add slick new capabilities, such as highlighting routes on the display to show popular paths used by other truck drivers.”

The dēzl also comes with Bluetooth phone capabilities and an AI-powered voice assistant. Activated by “OK Garmin,” the voice assistant handles any voice request for navigation, environmental control, and other aspects of the drive. The company is tying the device to the Garmin Drive mobile app so that drivers can ask the voice assistant to pull up fuel prices, traffic, weather, and even traffic camera info in real time.

Accelerating AI

The $400 to $800 new dēzl devices represent how the evolution of AI and voice in vehicles is shifting toward new specializations and roles. Vehicle AI giant Cerence, in particular, has been rapidly pushing out new products and adding new partnerships. Most recently, Cerence announced that Audi’s upcoming voice assistant would be built on its Cerence Drive platform,  right after it debuted the turnkey Cerence ARK Assistant platform. That, in turn, incorporates features like customizing the voice of car voice assistants or the Cognitive Arbitrator, which lets automakers offer multiple, simultaneously available voice assistants within a car. Of course, existing voice assistants are still working on becoming part of the standard vehicle package. Both Alexa and Google Assistant have been announcing new partnerships, a motorcycle version, and even offering voice payment for gas. Garmin has also worked with Amazon before to integrate Alexa into a couple of its devices, but not the kind of industrial truck-specific creation it has launched now.

As a Voicebot survey found, people are using tech while driving more than ever. The number of people in the U.S. using voice technology while driving rose from about 114 million to almost 130 million between the fall of 2018 and the beginning of 2020. There’s no reason not to extend those technological benefits to people who drive for a living, with features focused on their needs. Voice AI and smart displays will likely become as standard for working trucks as they are for consumer vehicles, whatever the brand under the hood. As the tech continues to change to adapt to what people want in their vehicle AI, Germin has an opportunity to stay ahead in industrial vehicle services if its new devices appeal to drivers and truck companies more than trying to integrate the tech directly into a truck.


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