Cerence Brings Voice Control to Harman’s Connected Car Store
Cerence’s conversational AI will augment the Harman Ignite Store of third-party smart apps for cars. Drivers who want to download and interact with the apps will converse with Cerence’s platform to find and enable the apps created by carmakers and independent audio app developers like Audioburst.
Cerence is providing speech recognition and natural language understanding technology that will integrate with the apps in the Ignite store so that drivers can nab any of the apps that interest them without having to take their hands off the wheel. The Ignite Store is also adding several Cerence Domains, the controls over different parts of the driving experience developed by the company, such as navigation and environmental controls. All of that will be voice-enabled, even if it wasn’t before. The idea for all of it is to streamline the process of deploying those voice services for the carmakers by making it easier to discover and control them with Cerence’s voice tech as a better option than the house-built virtual assistant previously offered as an interface.
“Voice is becoming more and more pivotal in the context of in-vehicle experiences, where consumers expect similar capabilities from their car, including a natural-language voice engine and text-to-speech,” Harman Ignite Store business unit vice president Albert Jordan said in a statement. “By collaborating with Cerence, a leader in conversational AI, we are helping our OEM customers and Android Automotive developers to introduce innovative, voice-powered apps and services that will enhance the passengers’ experiences.”
Cerence only added Android Automotive compatibility earlier this year, but it makes this kind of collaboration a lot more feasible since the Ignite Store uses the Android platform. Cars running Cerence Drive can have a custom voice assistant and Google Assistant operate within the same car with the carmaker’s branding. The partnership with Harman specifically is also not a huge surprise. The two companies likely built a tighter relationship after Harman automotive branch executive Sujal Shah became Cerence’s head of professional services early this year. But, Cerence’s ambition has been in view for a while now in terms of new features of partnerships. Most recently, a deal with European mobile payment firm Ryd Pay allowed Cerence to offer drivers the ability to pay for gas by voice. And SiriusXM picked Cerence to work with the streaming service on plans for an entirely new voice assistant.