Hyundai to debut smart assistant at CES 2018


Hyundai has teamed up with SoundHound to create a new voice assistant for the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), set for a 2019 production debut.

According to the company, the assistant will be among the first proactive voice control systems on the market, designed to help the driver by prompting them about upcoming meetings and, depending on traffic, suggesting a different departure time.

Behind the wheel, the system can be used to control things like air-conditioning, the sunroof and door locks. Paired with a smart home, Hyundai also says the voice assistant can be used to control devices (think lights or cooling systems) from behind the wheel.

It’ll also be able to handle multiple commands at once, which means owners will be able to say “tell me what the weather will be like tomorrow and turn off the lights in our living room,” and the car will separate the commands and carry them out. Anyone who’s crawled through the frustrating step-by-step process required for current voice systems will know how appealing that concept is.

A simplified version of the setup will debut on Hyundai’s new fuel-cell SUV being launched next year, before a full rollout in 2019.

Based in Silicon Valley, SoundHound specialises in voice-control tech. The system in future Hyundais will be based on Houndify, a voice recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) platform developed (apparently) over 10 years.

Infotainment and smart assistants are emerging as the new battleground in car sales. Mercedes-Benz is also launching an AI-based infotainment system at CES.

“Sophisticated voice recognition and AI integration are core to effectively providing drivers with the massive content and data that future connected vehicles have to offer,” said Paul Choo, director of infotainment development at Hyundai.

“These elements play a key role in delivering connected-car-generated information.”

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