RAIN Debuts ‘Ortho’ Industrial Voice Assistant for Vehicle Repair
Industrial voice AI developer RAIN Technology has officially released a voice assistant designed to help with automobile repair. The Ortho voice assistant made its debut at this year’s 2022 Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) and can save up to two hours a week in various repair and maintenance tasks, according to RAIN. Ortho is the result of a year and a half of production and testing following RAIN’s transition from consumer to commercial AI creation.
Ortho acts as a voice-enabled guide for fixing and maintaining vehicles through a tablet designed to stand up to the rigors of a working garage and with a magnetized back to stick to any nearby girders or pillars. The voice assistant accesses automotive data provider MOTOR’s OEM database and answers questions from workers when alerted by someone saying, “Hey Ortho” nearby. The AI can pull up the details of hundreds of parts, diagrams, and instructions for vehicles. Specific models can be found through a manual search or by scanning a VIN on a car. Ortho’s succeeded in more than a dozen pilot tests in the U.S. and Canada but is now available to any interested car repair locations. Using the voice assistant cuts minutes of hunting for information to a few seconds, skipping the walking, cleaning, searching, and returning to the repair bay in favor of a concise, audible response as well as a visual display on the tablet, which is included in the leasing price.
“We built Ortho with a laser focus on saving meaningful time in the shop, tapping into voice technology’s inherent advantages – speed of input, hands-free use, and a distraction-free interface,” RAIN CEO Nithya Thadani said. “With an aging fleet of vehicles on the road and an enduring technician shortage, auto repair pros are some of the most in-demand professionals in any industry – they deserve well-designed, tech-forward solutions to maximize their productivity on the job.”
RAIN raised $11 million this summer to accelerate developing Ortho and other commercial and industrial voice assistants, building on the $3 million it raised in 2020 from Stanley Ventures, the investor branch of Stanley Black & Decker. The success of the automotive repair voice assistant could open doors to markets like quick-service restaurants and healthcare providers, Thadani told Voicebot earlier this year. Any industry with a single factual source of answers and immobile settings, like car repairs or construction, could potentially be a place for RAIN’s voice AI. The company isn’t without competition, however. Fellow industrial voice AI startup Datch raised $10 million in July, and Microsoft has demonstrated its own plans for connecting industrial AI to the metaverse in the future.