SiriusXM Partners With Cerence to Develop a Voice Assistant
SiriusXM is working with automotive voice tech developer Cerence to augment the streaming service voice AI in cars. The goal is to streamline voice access to SiriusXM’s enormous content library without relying on o voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant to convey requests from drivers to SiriusXM.
The combo of SiriusXM and Cerence will be sold as a package to automakers beginning next year, in North America, initially. Any system already using Cerence as its voice assistant platform will also be offered SiriusXM via an over-the-air update. Cerence’s conversational language engine will be trained to know the hundreds of live SiriusXM channels people might ask to listen to, as well as the library of podcasts SiriusXM has collected. The AI will also analyze requests over time to learn what the driver likes to listen to and eventually offer recommendations for other channels the listener might want to try. The personalization will also include the status of the user’s subscription and if they are in danger of missing a payment.
Until now, Sirius had lacked any kind of independent voice capability. The service only became accessible by voice on Google Nest smart speakers and displays in the fall of 2019. Integration with Alexa began way back in 2017, but it wasn’t until November last year that it became possible to sync SiriusXM content across Alexa-enabled devices.
“We’re always looking for ways to make the SiriusXM experience more enjoyable and easier to use for our subscribers coast to coast,” SiriusXM senior vice president of automotive product and engineering Sean Gibbons explained, “By teaming up with Cerence, a leader in intuitive, natural in-vehicle experiences, we’re making it easier than ever for drivers to access and enjoy the best selection of audio entertainment available in the car.”
Cerence has been rolling out new features and partnerships at a breakneck pace this year. The release of Cerence Drive 2.0 in January marked a major upgrade for the company’s platform. Enhanced accuracy, speed, and comprehension have allowed for more customization and additional features that have since appeared. For instance, Cerence Look combines online databases and gaze-tracking cameras to determine what a driver is looking at, which can then be used to produce an AI tour guide. And Cerence now runs on Android Automotive, connecting the popular car virtual assistant system to its AI.
The company isn’t just focused on cars, either. Cerence is working with tooz technologies to produce smartglasses with its AI for motorcyclists. Altogether, it’s understandable why Cerence’s stock rose upon the partnership’s announcement. The company’s stock continues to regularly outperform analyst expectations. Cerence reported a record-breaking $98.7 million in revenue for the second quarter of this year, leaping over the $93.4 million predicted. The SiriusXM deal opens up a vast potential userbase for Cerence, introducing what it can do to drivers who might never have played with Cerence’s voice AI otherwise.
“SiriusXM has broad reach as the leading in-car content provider, bringing new and exciting programming to their subscribers,” Cerence CEO Sanjay Dhawan said. “As we extend the capabilities of the mobility assistant with more streamlined access to SiriusXM content, we enable a rich, dynamic experience for drivers that makes their journey safer, more productive, and more enjoyable.”