• April 12, 2021
  • By Leonard Klie Editor, Speech Technology and CRM magazines
  • FYI

Voice Soars as Vehicle Interface of Choice

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Automakers of all types have largely aligned on touchscreen and voice as the primary interfaces for in-vehicle control, information, and entertainment systems, but Strategy Analytics warns that in-car voice controls must be context-based to offer the best user experience.

“In-car touchscreen and especially voice control performance have long trailed their counterparts outside the car due to poor user experience and long production cycles. Though voice control usage is on the rise, automakers have largely missed their opportunity to deliver useful voice controls. Consumers now look to their trusted mobile or home-based voice assistant for all voice tasks, including those in the ear,” said Derek Viita, report author and senior analyst for Strategy Analytics’ In-Vehicle User Experience (IVX) Service.

“Until we see changes in the pace of hardware improvements in the car, not to mention wholesale improvements in voice UI design, we expect the pattern of tepid or moderate satisfaction found through our research to hold for the near future,” Chris Schreiner, director of the IVX service at Strategy Analytics, warned further. “Beyond improved perception via a better microphone and allowing for barge-in, voice’s strength in the car is context-based. A usable and useful voice UX in the car must take into account accurate location information, traffic information, weather information, user preferences, and so forth.”

The stark warning comes amid similar research from Research in China, which reported recently that electronics in the vehicle need to cater to user needs better.

That report notes that button, touch, and voice interfaces, along with new interaction modes like voice assistant, gesture recognition, fingerprint ID, sound localization, face recognition, and holographic image, have begun showing up in new vehicle models. BMW, for example, is launching Natural Interaction, a system planned for the new iNext in 2021, that integrates voice, gesture, and gaze recognition for key control functions.

But beyond the user interface, safety should be the primary factor in the design of simpler, easy-to-use vehicle cockpits, the research noted.

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