January 05, 2020

The in-car experience is transforming before our eyes and at a rapid pace. Voice-enable technology continues to improve and grow in popularity. Car companies are introducing larger and larger touchscreens. And with the latest advancements in artificial intelligence, in-cabin surveillance systems and advanced sensor fusion capabilities, augmented reality (AR) is offering another output modality that fits seamlessly into the intuitive interaction flow.

With CES 2020 – the biggest stage where the latest innovations, including in the automotive space, are introduced to the marketplace – officially kicking off tomorrow, automotive design and user experience is likely to be a central theme. That’s why we recently surveyed more than 1,500 U.S. consumers to understand how they use technology to enhance their day-to-day experiences in their cars. Here’s what we uncovered…

Drivers are looking to their car’s technology to enhance their safety on the road.
More than half (54%) of respondents said the biggest benefit of their car’s voice assistant was keeping them safe while driving, ranking as more important than the assistant’s ability to satisfy their entertainment needs (22%) or increase their productivity (14%). Similarly, 39% of respondents said the biggest benefit of their car’s touchscreen was keeping them safe, followed by its ability to satisfy their entertainment needs (32%) as well as help with navigation (17%).

Voice and the car’s headunit can work together to serve this exact purpose. As touchscreens continue to get bigger, many think this will lead to more distractions – but we believe that the way content is delivered and accessed will have a far bigger impact than the size of the screen. For example, voice, gaze, gesture, and other more natural modes of interaction can deliver a more intuitive experience and ensure large touchscreens don’t become a distraction.

Drivers want their technology to help them navigate stressful driving situations.
Nearly half of respondents (44%) are looking for greater assistance during stressful driving situations, like finding parking, noticing road hazards and pedestrians, as well as navigating congested traffic.

There are many technologies that can aid drivers during these situations, like natural language understanding and conversational context capabilities. These enable the voice assistant to not only understand your preferences (e.g. if you like to pay for parking with a card over cash), but also how they may change on any given day. For example, in response to a simple request to find parking, contextual information, such as the windshield wipers being active, would infer that it might be raining and adjust the parking recommendations to prioritize covered parking.

As the in-car experience continues to evolve, one thing is clear – safety is a priority for consumers and automakers alike. With more than a third (36%) of respondents leveraging built-in connected features like the voice assistant and touchscreens, these technologies must work together to achieve that common goal.

To see Cerence EVD in action, check out this video.

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