In-car Voice Assistant – today and tomorrow

driving voice assistants are reality

Capgemini, in the study ‘Smart Talk: How organizations and consumers are embracing voice and chat assistants’, has predicted that the use of voice assistants will soar to 73% in the next three years. LetMePark is very aware of this trend: using an in-car Voice Assistant to park safely in Spain is one of our main initiatives. In this article, we summarize the main conclusions of the study and review how the voice and chat assistant will change our interactions in and out of the car.

voice assistant in driving
in car voice assistants are a reality. Photo: Andras Vas on Unsplash

How do we use the voice assistant

Voice in car and Voice anywhere else are different. Using your voice as a medium to interact with the car not only lets the driver focus on driving the vehicle but also helps him do a wider variety of tasks.          

Approximately half of the consumers that were surveyed use in-car voice assistants for navigation and music. An increasing number of them, however, want to control at-home functions as well. Three years from now, 71% of consumers say they will increasingly use their voice assistants over other mediums of interaction. This is due to an increased ease in using voice over making calls for a wide number of actions. Today, consumers aged between 32 and 44 years are the greatest users of in-car voice assistants and other conversational assistants. Customers, especially the millennials, are willing to pay a premium for voice assistants.

Surprisingly, the automotive industry overstates its capabilities and needs to recalibrate its effectiveness in gauging the user experience. 81% of industry executives believe the voice assistant in their car understand people’s needs and preferences. In sharp contrast, only 59% of consumers agree with the above. With all the tech out there, even today, more than half of consumers feel that the in-car voice assistant is confusing as it doesn’t understand the commands well. As a result, they have to go back to using manual dials. Moreover, a similar percentage of users find the voice assistants to be unsafe and find the approach to be too intrusive. All these concerns sum to a conclusion that only a third of consumers affirm their experience is great.

User habits with in-car voice assistants

In-car voice assistants have been in the scene for around 16 years. Interestingly, consumer traction has only jumped in recent years, supported partially by the penetration of at-home voice assistants and partially by OEM mobile assistant integrations. By 2022, 95% of consumers will use a conversational assistant to access information inside the car. Therefore, the manufacturers have a great reason to be innovative and empathetic by improving user experience.  Importantly, the Capgemini research shows that 53% of consumers use their in-car voice assistant for more diverse functions than at-home assistants. A good experience with a these assistants can make or break the decision of the user to keep on using the service. Note that 76% of consumers said that they would use the voice assistant more frequently after a positive experience.

Expectations and improving the experience

Years of interaction with the in-home, the mobile assistant and a fair exposure to in-car voice assistants have raised consumer expectations. The car manufacturers might open to third parties innovation to give a consistent experience. For instance, they can partner with the big tech to inculcate the nuances of voice.
Massive-scale user education is the need of the hour. More and more skills are added in various voice assistants, therefore it’s of prime importance to make the users aware of the existing capabilities; letting them know they have been heard. Privacy is another concern that needs to be put to bed by the manufacturers and partners.  Data will be critical to be able to give a better experience, as a result, it will become more and more important to hold user trust.   

Only by being reliable and consistent the users will trust and rely more on the voice assistant. Gimmicks may attract interest at first, however, a friction-less experience is what will keep the users using the service. For example, more human-like interface and smart contextual suggestions using location, past searches, etc. will ease the user experience. In geographies such as India and Europe, for instance, being multilingual and supporting different dialects can give a massive market penetration. In sum, building an ecosystem -commanded by voice- around integrating payments, shopping, music, gas purchase, toll, parking etc. will make the driving experience much more effective.

Advanced voice assistant-use cases

Although they are mostly used for playing music, making telephone calls, and navigation, today’s car assistants are capable of handling more complex queries. About 60% of consumers prefer using a single integrated voice service across the vehicle, home, and mobile. Therefore there is a business case to launch alternatives for the users.

Use of voice biometrics

For instance, Dragon Drive – an AI-powered voice assistant used in certain Audi, Daimler, and Ford models- aids a multi-passenger interaction using voice biometrics. 
Others have opted to include existing voice assistants instead of developing their own at the cars: BMW in China has introduced Alibaba’s voice assistant. Maserati has integrated three voice assistants (Alexa, Bixby, and Cortana) in its dashboard, each of which can be accessed by turning a knob.

Information on your parked car

Mercedes-Benz User Experience tells you if your parked car got bumped or towed away.

Payments

GM has launched the ‘Marketplace’ app to allow consumers to purchase goods and services.
Honda Motor Company has partnered with Visa, Chevron, MasterCard and PayPal to create a unified platform for services integrated within the dashboard and accessible without a mobile device. 

Conclusion

Consumers view their car as an extension of their digital lives by becoming another interface that we interact with, albeit under a different set of circumstances. Manufacturers need to exercise more empathy to not only match the user experience to the one he or she has in other interfaces, but to exceed it providing unbounded satisfaction. A deal maker will be how to educate users about the capabilities of what your car can do, while drawing a line to not breach the privacy. How to do this and still have enough data to be predictive. The big tech and car manufacturer partnerships have a glorious opportunity to wow their users by giving them an outstanding experience.

LetMePark Contribution: The smart driver assistant

Today, talk, navigate and play is achieved in magnificent ways in some of the best voice-use-cases of ‘voice while driving’. What about parking? As ‘voice’ in a car makes a lot of sense. LetMePark, a Spanish parking startup, lets you find, book and pay for a parking spot just using voice command via Amazon Alexa in a seamless manner, is enhancing the parking experience.   … To make parking forgettable, we have reimagined parking and driver experience by introducing LetMePark for Alexa. We help you do a personalized search according to your preferences – distance, money and convenience, to ensure you get the best deal. Either you need to park on the go or want to make a reservation for the future, LetMePark takes the burden of finding, booking and paying for parking into its own hands by letting you keep yours on the wheel and enhance your safety.

Source:

Capgemini Research Institute. How organizations and consumers are embracing voice and chat assistants. https://www.capgemini.com/research/smart-talk/