BMW Sticks With Cerence to Build Next Car Voice Assistant
BMW will unveil a new voice assistant this fall in the BMW 7 and i7 models and has chosen automotive voice developer Cerence to create it. The arrangement extends a partnership that began in 2018, before Cerence even spun off from Nuance.
Cerence has powered the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant since its earliest iteration. The upcoming version marks a significant upgrade to the AI, however. For instance, Cerence has improved the natural language understanding of the asistant to handle more flexiblly worded commands. As examples, Cerence describes how a driver could open the sunroof by telling the AI they want to see the sky. It willl also learn more about diver preferences over time to better adapt to their requests, and can answer spoken questions about car functions while traveling. The updated system will also help drivers who use Apple CarPlay on their iPhones while driving by skipping the need to push a button to activate Siri. Using the wake word is all that’s needed. Similarly, Chinese BMW drivers can converse on the popular WeChat app by voice command.Those in the car who aren’t driving will also benefit as the passenger and rear seats are able to make requests personazlied to thwere they are sitting.
“BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant is an incredible example of just how important AI and voice can be for the driving experience – natural, intuitive, effortless,” Cerence CEO Stefan Ortmanns said. “We are delighted to partner with BMW Group again on a cutting-edge virtual assistant that even further expands its longstanding track record of defining a unique and exhilarating experience for anyone behind the wheel of a BMW.”
Since first working with Cerence, BMW has augmented its platform with several of the features later developed by the automotive AI developer, including being the first to add Cerence’s driver-customized wake word feature. BMW’s voice projects have never been limited to Cerence. The company made Google Assistant accessible in 2017 and Alexa became an option in 2018. Most recently, BMW recently unveiled plans to incorporate Google’s Android Automotive platform into at least some of its vehicles, augmenting the Cerence-built AI.