In times when dense and hectic traffic situations do not permit any distraction to drivers, voice control is a useful complement to conventional HMIs. It even gives drivers back the control to an indispensable piece of equipment for many users: The smart phone. Without compromising safety.
Integrated in-car speech solutions are becoming more and more popular for drivers as the technology not only helps motorists to stay connected while they're on the move, but also helps to improve driver safety. Research suggests that in the UK, 82% of drivers that have access to speech solutions in the car, make use of this technology. Speech recognition and text-to-speech technology can enable drivers to have complete usability of their mobile phones, to input destination entries into navigation systems and to control their infotainment systems without needing to remove their hands from the wheel.
As laws regarding the use of mobile phones while driving continue to become more and more stringent in order to help improve driver safety, speech solutions can eliminate the notion that the car is a white spot when it comes to communication. However, despite this technology being available and despite these increasingly strict laws, recent research in the UK from the RAC revealed that 50% of motorists admitted to checking their phone, 21% were likely to read a social media alert and 31% admitted to texting at the wheel.
These stats highlight the desire for drivers to stay connected while on the road; however it's essential that drivers start making the most of the technology available to them in order to improve their safety while they stay in touch. Archaic speech solutions were sometimes difficult and unintuitive to use. If drivers were unable to easily operate in-car systems and were unable to master the correct series of commands, it was likely that they would become distracted, which completely undermines the benefits of using speech solutions in the car.
The accuracy and usability of embedded speech solutions continues to improve and drivers are no longer required to learn a series of complicated commands, making it easier to interact vocally with electronic devices. By providing drivers with one, easy-to-use interface for voice control, in-car speech solutions can help to improve convenience and usability of technology within their car. For system integrators, however, the challenge can come with making extremely complex systems work together to create an easy-to-use offering for drivers.
To combat this, more and more OEMs are requesting a complete offering from speech solution providers. When developing infotainment systems however, it's not enough for the system integrators to just have the core function engines available – text-to-speech and automatic speech recognition.
OEMs are increasingly requesting that the internal communication between these functions is hidden from them so that they can present a single platform that can be easily integrated into customer systems. Developers can then re-work these platforms and include any specific requirements, patented algorithms or customised voice commands to fit their individual needs.