SoundHound and Stellantis Ink Deal Bringing Voice AI to European Autos
Automotive giant Stellantis will integrate SoundHound’s voice AI system into several European car brands. The new arrangement comes not long after the company scored a long-term deal with Hyundai, deepening SoundHound’s automotive AI efforts after going public on Nasdaq in April.
SoundHound’s new Edge+Cloud system upgrades and streamlines automotive voice AI by processing some commands without needing to send or receive data from the cloud. SoundHound began working with some Stellantis subsidiaries in 2018 when they were part of Groupe PSA, including Peugeot, Citroën, and Vauxhall. Groupe PSA merged with FCA to form Stellantis last year. The new arrangement widens the number and variety of vehicles that will run SoundHound’s technology in Europe far beyond that earlier deal.
The partnership will also mark the first time SoundHound deploys its hybrid cloud and on-device model combining its Edge+Cloud and Active Arbitration technologies to speed the voice assistant’s response time. The new system prompts the car’s AI to respond to driver queries by searching the onboard system and the cloud for a solution at the same time instead of waiting for the on-device search to finish before connecting with the cloud.
“Our partnership with SoundHound began in 2018 with a goal to achieve mass production of voice-enabled vehicles by the end of 2021—starting with our ex-PSA models and then expanding to ex-FCA brands for Europe and China,” Stellantis senior expert for connectivity and infotainment Alexandre Fromion said. “The powerful hybrid cloud and embedded connectivity of SoundHound’s Voice AI platform allows us to deliver always-on voice experiences for customers on-the-go.”
Stellantis has previously made deals with other voice AI developers besides SoundHound. Amazon signed an agreement with Stellantis to augment its vehicles with Alexa and other Amazon technology starting in 2024. That includes using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the Stellantis cloud provider and producing the STLA SmartCockpit digital cabin platform, which will make a custom assistant version of Alexa native to 14 major vehicle brands like Dodge and Jeep. This deal was itself an extension of Amazon’s earlier deal with FCA. Amazon’s focus on North American brands wouldn’t overlap with SoundHound necessarily, but Groupe PSA had agreed to use Google’s Android Automotive platform in Europe starting in 2023 pre-Stellantis, so the exact map of voice systems is a little uncertain. SoundHound’s relative flexibility and long experience in voice AI bring some unique benefits to Stellantis. Carmakers using SoundHound can customize the vehicle’s wake word, and the AI will speak around two dozen languages by the end of the year, not all of which are spoken by Alexa or Google Assistant.
“Our long-standing partnership with Stellantis is a direct result of SoundHound’s sophisticated end-to-end solution. It’s a truly disruptive voice AI, and the result of over 17 years of innovation,” SoundHound CEO Keyvan Mohajer said. “Our technology offers companies full control over their brand, user data, and privacy policies, while delivering the greatest value for third-party integration.”
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