X600 AI Companions Will Change the Driving Experience with Prateek Kathpal of Cerencey

10 Minutes On AI Driving Companions with Prateek Kathpal of Cerence

Voice assistants first arrived in the car more than 20 years ago, and Cerence was behind that original deployment (when it was part of Nuance). Cerence has also led most of the evolutionary shifts for in-car voice assistants since that time. Last year, we interviewed Cerence’s Adam Emfield about the voice-activated driving assistant as a copilot. That involved integration of sensor and in-car data to help drivers have safer and more enjoyable trips.

The most recent upgrade by Cerence is the introduction of an in-car companion. Cerence CTO Prateek Kathpal walks through the evolution of in-car voice assistants and what makes the companion different.

If you think about the journey of the voice assistant [in the car] it began many years ago with a voice interaction assistant…But then the drivers needed more. They needed an assistant that could be flexible and converse. This led to what we call a conversational assistant…What we did about two years ago is introduce what we call the Cerence copilot. That took the conversational assistant to the next level. It added a proactive AI. So, the assistants don’t have to be in a reactive mode all of the time. The assistants which have information about the driver, which have information about the car, they could use that information and proactively engage that user in a conversation…A companion is based on  a new technology what we call teachable AI that deeply integrates with the car with sensors and understands complex situations both inside the car and outside the car.

An Assistant with Agency

The reactive voice assistant is one model where it responds when invoked. Another model is the proactive assistant that performs tasks or asks you if you would like something done based on data that suggest the user might benefit.

Another evolutionary step is the assistant with agency that can go out into the world and perform tasks on your behalf even when you are not present. Google Duplex was one of the first demonstrations of this technology and wowed the world with its ability to make phone calls and book restaurant reservations. Cerence demonstrated this same capability in a private analyst meeting in November, and Prateek demonstrated it in our interview in the video below. This segment is lifted from the full interview.

More About 10 Minutes On with Hour One

This interview is part of a thought leadership series called 10 Minutes On by Voicebot.ai. The interviews focus on a single topic, are short enough to watch between Zoom meetings, and are long enough to share some interesting insights and solution details. You can find more video interviews like this on Voicebot’s YouTube channel or by clicking Videos in the website’s top navigation bar.

10 Minutes On New Voice Experiences for Drivers with CARIAD Volkswagen’s Sanket Shinde