Safety and comfort with in-car voice assistant

Safety and comfort with in-car voice assistant

In-house voice assistants are still waiting for their widespread breakthrough. Especially in the UK, where people are still quite unfamiliar with the somewhat eerie box, which is supposed to fulfil all wishes when called upon. However, voice control has a long tradition in cars. Long before Alexa, Siri and OK Google existed, car drivers could at least initiate calls via voice command. That is why the acceptance of voice assistants in cars is much greater today. Recent upgrades in this area are taking it to new levels of convenience, versatility and safety.

Performance features of modern voice assistants in cars

Performance features of modern voice assistants in cars

A voice assistant in a car is first and foremost a safety feature. With the help of voice control, the hands remain on the steering wheel and the eyes are focused on the road. Distractions caused by displays and button operation no longer occur when you have the voice assistant. With its help, the driver can perform numerous functions which previously could only be carried out by a brief stop at the side of the road:

– Navigation
Internet surfing
– Sending messages
– Making calls
– Specific selection of music or audio books

One should also not forget the emergency aid function. With a simple command such as “Call Emergency” or “Call Ambulance” the driver can help themselves and others in seconds. Therefore, the voice assistant can become a real lifesaver.

Install high quality car parts

Types of voice assistant constructions

As it has always been the case from the very beginning of automobility, the most innovative features and gadgets are initially used in luxury class vehicles. For example, the Mercedes S-Class, the top Cadillac models and BMW 7 Series already had a voice control as standard feature more than 10 years ago.

However, the spread of high technology into the low-cost compact cars is becoming ever faster today. Still entering dialling and calling commands was initially quite cumbersome and required precisely defined codes and sequences.

In the meantime, BMW has taken the voice assistant to the extreme. Instead of intelligent software, BMW initially relied on real voice operators. The operator could be actively called or switched on themselves if necessary. Via a sensor and a messaging system in the car, the operator could thus detect an accident and independently call an ambulance, without the driver explicitly requesting it.

However, this praiseworthy, comfortable but technically very complicated solution is gradually being replaced by digital voice assistants.

Today, it is the “three great” voice assistants that make this function available to practically everyone. All that is needed is a simple smartphone or a small additional box.

Siri, Google and Alexa in the car

The three voice assistants, which are designed to make work easier at home and in the office, can also be used in a car without any problems.

OK Google in the car

  • For OK Google the smartphone is enough. Via Bluetooth and a hands-free car kit, Google can be easily used with the on-board HI-FI system.

apple carplay

  • With “CarPlay“, Apple has a version of Siri in its programme that is optimised for cars.

Amazon Echo with Alexa in the car

  • Amazon Echo with Alexa can be used via modules that can be plugged into the cigarette lighter and a smartphone.

These tools are amazingly inexpensive and make useful and comfortable gadgets accessible to every car driver.

Retrofitting a voice assistant in the car – this is how it works

Retrofitting a voice assistant in the car

The market for retrofit voice assistants is currently booming. Manufacturers aim to make the devices as compact, small and inconspicuous as possible. Long cables are being increasingly replaced by Bluetooth in the newer generations and improve the handling further.

In addition to optimising the design, manufacturers of the retrofittable modules for voice assistants are also working on the input and output quality.

With the background noise in a car, the clear reception of a voice command is sometimes a great challenge. However, newly developed microphones and other features already ensure that the devices available today can be operated very well. So, no-one needs to be afraid of having to screw the Google home cylinder onto the dashboard if they want to have a voice assistant in the car.

Installing the voice assistant into the dashboard

Basically, a car radio with a USB port is all that you need. Via this port, the radio can be extended with a Bluetooth adapter for about 13 pounds. Paired with a standard smartphone, Siri and Alexa can be fitted into the car.

dongles for Alexa or SiriA little more comfortable are the dongles for Alexa or Siri. They can be also simply plugged into the USB port or connected to the car radio via Bluetooth. The disadvantage with the established voice assistants, however, is that they are limited to voice commands and only work properly when connected to the Internet.

Comprehensive assistance

The functions of a voice assistant are already very broad today. In addition to the standard communication, navigation and convenience commands, the voice assistants also have calendar functions. This is very practical, especially for car drivers. For example, functions can be set to remind the driver of a workshop appointment, for example to retighten wheel bolts. This is a further contribution to general driving safety through voice assistants.

Foto: Anatolir, Denys Prykhodov, and4me, Steve Heap, Jaiz Anuar, emojoez, Sunshine Studio, khanawuth / shutterstock.com

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