Italian Motorcycle Maker Energica is Developing a Voice Assistant for Riders
Energica, an Italian electric motorcycle manufacturer, is developing a voice assistant for its vehicles. The company is working with mobile accessories developer Cellularline and telecoms firm Alascom to create the helmet-based communications system enabling the rider to talk to an AI connected to the motorcycle.
Energica is best known for building the machines for MotoGP’s MotoE series, producing some of the world’s fastest electric motorcycles. Like most modern vehicles, motorcycles use a lot of computer power controlled by various buttons and switches. That’s not always a good thing as motorcycles can be dangerous even when paying full attention to the road. The voice AI would let the rider adjust their vehicle just by speaking aloud. It wouldn’t apply to the basics of throttle and brake but could make activating elements like traction control, navigation systems, and cruise control a lot easier. The rider would speak the request to a device secured into their helmet, presumably where Cellularline comes in, which would relay the command by Bluetooth to their smartphone, which would likely need an app to connect to the motorcycle and transmission help from Alascom. The same device could theoretically access Siri or Google Assistant for entertainment and navigation, depending on the kind of phone they own.
“Artificial intelligence is a rapidly growing trend, especially in the interaction between rider and vehicle,” Energica CTO Giampiero Testoni said in a statement. “We have been pursuing innovation for years also in this field in order to offer to our customers a state-of-the-art product that is both useful and responsive. Thanks to this innovative communication protocol, the rider can easily find information on his/her vehicle without distractions.”
Cars have long been the center of vehicular voice control, but motorcycles are starting to catch up. As early as 2018, Jarvish built a smart helmet that integrates Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant into its display. The biggest name in American motorcycles, Harley-Davidson, became the first two-wheeled vehicle to integrate Android Auto a year ago. More recently, car voice AI giant Cerence expanded its remit to motorcycles, as well as scooters, through the new Cerence 2-Wheeler Mobility Platform. The new platform translates Cerence’s AI for those vehicles, with smartphone integration and a voice assistant connecting to Bluetooth headsets and helmets. It can even replace the screen in a car by projecting images onto a screen in the helmet. Honda, meanwhile, is looking to apply smartphone integration into motorcycles with the “Smartphone as Brain” feature connecting a motorcycle voice assistant to a rider with Bluetooth voice commands and steering handle switches. That’s nothing compared to a recent patent from Honda, found by Cycleworld, for a motorcycle that can be controlled by your mind.