8hertz and Kirusa Announce Multimodal Solutions for the Automobile Industry
BERLIN, Germany, and EDISON, N.J. - 8hertz and Kirusa announced the availability of multimodal applications for the automobile industry. The multimodal applications have been developed by 8hertz, and use Kirusa's multimodal core technology, including the Kirusa Multimodal Platform and Kirusa's Multimodal Clients for smart phones. The companies further announced that the Multimodal Owner's Manual application developed for Volkswagen has been awarded a prize at the AutoMechanica trade fair.
The server-based, speech-driven multimodal services provide for spoken and visual interfaces to access information by drivers. The first applications are currently being tested by major auto manufacturers, including Volkswagen.
The new Volkswagen Multimodal Owner's Manual received accolades at the automobile trade fair, AutoMechanika (September 13 - 19, 2004), in Frankfurt, winning one of four Innovation Prizes at the fair. The application was developed for Volkswagen by the voice application company, 8hertz Technologies GmbH (8hertz).
The service allows drivers to keep their eyes focused on the road and hands on the steering wheel while asking questions such as "How does the Automatic Distance Control work?" or "What does this air-bag light mean?" The requested information is then delivered both acoustically and visually through the driver's own mobile device, e.g. smart phone or mobile digital assistant (MDA), directly from the existing Volkswagen Owner's Manual data located on a content server. Pictures from the manual are delivered simultaneously as a visual aid to accompany the description read aloud to the driver. In this way an accompanying passenger, or the driver when stopped, can compare the picture to the vehicle, to more quickly locate necessary functional elements.
A key feature of the multimodal applications is that the spoken input does not have to use the traditional mobile telephone GSM voice channel, but can use the data channel via GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, FLASH-OFDM®, or WLAN, now available on many mobile phones and devices. This allows the combination of voice and visual information exchange. Customers can thus use their existing mobile devices instead of retrofitting their car with new technology.
The server-based speech recognition can process several tens of thousands of words over the mobile Internet, including full sentences and synonyms. The technology also allows a "barge-in" feature so the user can randomly interrupt the system.
Manufacturers can also provide immediate updates to their customers, instead of sending out new software updates to individual automobiles.