Cerence Co-Pilot Introduces Proactive Car Voice Assistant
Cerence has a new car voice assistant designed to anticipate what drivers want before they ask named Cerence Co-Pilot. The proactive and multimodal voice AI analyzes data from car sensors and human input to predict a driver’s desires, ideally skipping the need for a wake word in favor of simply getting a yes or no on suggestions made to the driver.
Cerence Co-Pilot is integrated into the car and connected to its sensors. The AI adds “voice, gaze, gesture, and touch input” from drivers to paint a picture of what is happening inside and around the car. The AI can then keep the driver informed of any important information and extrapolate what the driver might ask about before they say anything. That means the Co-Pilot might let the driver know about unexpected problems, upcoming maintenance appointments, or dangerous weather using the car’s data. The AI might also notice the car is close to the coffee shop a driver visits every day and ask if it should order and pay for the driver’s drink while still a mile out. The anticipation can extend to whatever devices or software the AI connects with from the car. The Co-Pilot might offer to turn on smart lights at the driver’s home before they arrive, or note an appointment far enough away the next day that it advises the driver to fuel up on gas beforehand.
“Cerence has long been committed to blazing new trails toward the most intuitive driving experience the world has ever known. Today, with the introduction of Cerence Co-Pilot, we place Cerence firmly at the center of reinventing what it means to drive a modern car,” Cerence CEO Stefan Ortmanns said. “Voice-powered interaction has become ubiquitous in our daily lives, but it’s time that we expand upon its capabilities and chart the road ahead – a fully multi-modal, multi-sensor, AI-based experience. By bringing a new level of intelligence to the voice assistant, we not only enhance comfort and convenience, but also improve safety through proactive and reactive capabilities.”
Cerence Co-Pilot represents some significant additions to the company’s technology. The feature bookends Cerence’s year, which began with the launch of Cerence Drive 2.0 and the connected Cloud Services. The upgrade enhanced the accuracy and speed of connected voice assistants and made the AI better able to understand complex and multi-part commands while expanding the customization and update options for automakers. It also builds on the other additions and improvements Cerence has made this year, including Cerence Look, which combines online databases and gaze-tracking cameras to share insight on what a driver is looking at, and the Tour Guide feature to provide insight on the area around the car. The difference is that the AI will work to figure out when and how to implement those tools before the driver thinks to ask.
The release also follows some shake-ups within Cerence’s business. The most recent quarterly earnings warned potential supply chain problems ahead, causing at least a temporary stock drop. Almost immediately after, Ortmanns replaced long-time CEO Sanjay Dhawan at the head of the company. Still, with a major update and new deals inked with Toyota and other carmakers, Cerence may be able to anticipate what customers want as accurately as its AI.