Cerence Studio Gives Carmakers Advanced Voice Assistant Design Tools

Car AI developer Cerence has added a new tool for making automotive voice assistants called Cerence Studio. The newest addition to Cerence’s recent rapid-fire deployment of services gives carmakers more access to Cerence’s technology for a higher level of customization than previously possible

Under the Hood

Cerence Studio opens up Cerence’s natural language understanding (NLU) and conversational tech to developers at automotive companies. They can use the tools to create voice assistants from the ground up capable of holding conversations and carrying out commands as they travel. Because the carmakers can use the NLU engine directly, they can customize it for their particular brand more directly and adjust its capabilities as they desire. For instance, a driver in a car with a voice assistant built using Cerence Studio doesn’t have to request switching to specific entertainment or information services. They can just ask for a kind of audio to play or directions to a location, and the platform handles the transition. The platform even comes with developer tutorials for those teams unsure of the best way to code a command they want included in the assistant. The car company can also add or update features wirelessly to keep the voice assistant up-to-date. Notably, the manufacturer can choose for the voice assistant to speak one of more than 25 languages and the lexicon of the voice assistant can expand along with the other feature updates.

“As the world’s premier provider of in-car voice assistants, Cerence puts decades of industry experience and innovation at a developer’s fingertips with Cerence Studio,” Cerence executive vice president and general manager of core products Stefan Ortmanns said in a statement. “Leveraging our deep expertise, we offer OEMs the flexibility to build highly specialized, customizable domains for their brand – whether it’s creating chatbots, jokes and games, or even the car manual – that deliver the branded experience they are looking for to set them apart from their competition.”

Mapping Car Voices

More than 60% of drivers who have used a voice assistant report its presence as a factor in buying a car according to Voicebot’s In-Car Voice Assistant Consumer Adoption Report 2020, with 13% saying it is a significant consideration. And those percentages may rise as the number of people in the U.S. using voice technology while driving grows. Between the fall of 2018 and the beginning of 2020, drivers with voice assistants rose from about 114 million to almost 130 million. Finding ways to stand out in voice assistant terms is likely going to be a more significant element of carmaker plans in response, and Cerence wants to be the go-to partner for those companies.

In some cases, that may mean Cerence Studio, but the company isn’t limiting itself to car companies with the resources for detailed customization. That’s why it launched the Cerence ARK Assistant in May. ARK Assistant is designed to be turnkey, with minimal adjustments necessary to allow car manufacturers to include a voice assistant in their vehicles. Similarly, Cerence’s Cognitive Arbitrator lets automakers offer multiple, simultaneously available voice assistants within a car, while the Cerence UX Services analytics platform lets them better understand how customers are using the voice assistant in the car, and the My Car My Voice product outright shifts the option of customizing the voice of car voice assistants to the consumer. Cerence already supports voice assistants in approximately 35 million cars, but new partnerships with Audi and Fiat could push Cerence even further ahead of analyst expectations for revenue.


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