Cerence Introduces Cerence Cognitive Arbitrator

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Cerence has launched Cerence Cognitive Arbitrator, which uses artificial intelligence to help developers build in-car voice systems that can co-exist with the many virtual assistants, third-party services, and content available in today’s global digital ecosystem.
Cognitive Arbitrator is part of the Cerence Drive portfolio. It provides for a single voice-enabled or multimodal interface that removes the complexity of which assistant should execute a given tasks and enables automakers to maintain their brand experience and data ownership.

Cerence Cognitive Arbitrator lets users make inquiries and complete tasks across their digital universe. This includes general purpose assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana; global voice assistants from consumer technology companies like Alibaba, Tencent, and Yandex; and content services like OpenTable, Spotify, and Microsoft's Office 365 and Teams.

The Cognitive Arbitrator serves as a voice router, listening, understanding, and routing users’ requests to the assistant or content service best suited to accomplish the task. Drivers can use it to request information about car functions like windshield wipers, ask for driving directions, stream music, or complete such tasks as shopping, food ordering, personal banking, and more, without needing to specify which assistant should receive and complete the request. 

"Voice assistants are becoming more prevalent at home, at work, and on the go, and the average consumer's digital ecosystem is expanding, creating a need for interoperability no matter where they are. It's imperative that we democratize access to assistants across global markets and harness these platforms for their strengths, while also providing a seamless experience," said Stefan Ortmanns, executive vice president and general manager of core automotive at Cerence, in a statement. "With Cerence Cognitive Arbitrator, we're leading the charge in flexibility and interoperability for our automaker customers, supporting them as they look to design and deploy with a global mindset, while also enabling them to meet the demands of their customers."

Cerence Cognitive Arbitrator offers the following capabilities:

  • Complete interoperability between Cerence-powered, in-vehicle assistants; mainstream, general-purpose assistants like Apple's Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana; voice assistants from global consumer technology companies like Alibaba, Tencent and Yandex; and content services like OpenTable and Spotify,  all within a single, voice-powered interface that minimizes dead ends through clear hand-offs between assistants and services;
  • Both explicit and implicit handling and routing of user requests; for example, a user can say, "Hey Alexa, open my garage door," or "Open my garage door" and receive the same result, without having to reference a specific assistant or service by name;
  • The sbility to automatically learn preferences over time, so the arbitrator knows which assistant or content service the user prefers for specific tasks;
  • Contextual understanding of tasks completed from within any assistant, allowing users to modify previous tasks, such as "Cancel my last order;"
  • Integration with multiple services and agents simultaneously to complete a series of complex tasks, such as "Order my usual Chinese takeout after my last meeting today;" and
  • The ability for auto makers to control the business logic behind the arbitration to maintain control over the user experience.

The move from Cerence comes as a new study by Voicebot.ai found  that the number of U.S. adults who have used a voice assistant in the car rose 13.7 percent between September 2018 and January 2020. That amounts to about 1 million new in-car voice assistant users per month.

"We are living in a multi-assistant world. A recent Voicebot.ai consumer survey found that 32 percent of Siri users also have an Amazon Alexa smart speaker, and 10 percent have a device with Google Assistant. In addition, 25 percent of Google Assistant users on smartphones have an Alexa-powered smart speaker, while 82 percent of Apple CarPlay users have also employed the embedded voice assistant that came with their automobiles. Different voice assistants are serving as specialists for different tasks in our lives," said Bret Kinsella, founder and CEO of Voicebot.ai, in a statement. "We are not going to have a single voice assistant for all things. As a result, voice assistant arbitration is a necessary development that can offer a better user experience by hiding the technology's back-end complexity. This will be particularly helpful in the car, where it can reduce the cognitive load on the driver while providing a more personalized experience."

Cerence recently joined fellow industry leaders in support of LG Electronics’ new framework for the future of AI development, representing a shared vision to connect all aspects of people's lives through intelligent, AI-powered touchpoints. 

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