More people will soon be talking to their cars.
The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system, coming in Mercedes A-Class vehicles in North America, will enable customized voice control with natural language understanding.
The voice-enabled artificial intelligence is being powered by SoundHound, as I wrote about here when it was introduced (Mercedes Teams With SoundHound For In-Car, Voice-AI Infotainment).
Now SoundHound has teamed with Honda Motor Co., forging a strategic partnership to accelerate the development of Honda’s voice assistant, to be powered by the Houndify platform.
The SoundHound technology is lightning-fast, based on my experience of having used it since way back when. Much like Google Assistant, it also is very good at understanding what was said, even if in a relatively complex sentence, which is not the case with all voice agents.
This type of connectedness in cars will come well before autonomous or self-driving cars reach any type of scale.
Just as consumers adopt the behavior of speaking to voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in the home, automakers plan to extend that behavior to inside the car.
There’s big money and there are major entities behind all this. For example, earlier this year SoundHound raised $100 million and has backing from investors including Samsung, Daimler, Hyundai, Tencent Holdings, HTC, Line, Nomura, Japan Nipponkoa and others.
“Voice-enabled AI and conversational interfaces represent the next major focus in human-computing interaction that will impact every business in the years to come,” Keyvan Mohajer, co-founder and CEO of SoundHound, stated at the time.
SoundHound had been collaborating with Honda through Honda Xcelerator, the innovation program that facilitates collaboration with startups, which is led by Honda Innovations.
The Houndify platform already is involved in cars from Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Peugeot, Citroen and Opel, IoT platforms from Samsung, speakers from Onkyo and phones from Motorola.
Now Honda joins the list.