March 4, 2021

"Look, mom, no hands": cars prepare to drive with your voice | Innovation

Although now a Spanish manufacturer can boast of having advanced, Volvo has been flirting with the idea of ​​cars without a key for at least four years. Cars that open and start exclusively with the mobile, which are controlled remotely with a finger.

The motorists of today distrust of the cars of tomorrow. Probably for fear of losing control of the situation. To be degraded from drivers to passengers. But the solution, it seems, can only be provided by technology: when artificial intelligence really understands the labyrinthine human emotions, people will completely trust machines.

That's why evolution tends towards cars that empathize with the owner, who change the music, lighting and air freshener according to the mood of this. Until that arrives, the brands work hard to get the car to know how to put the heating when it is asked aloud, and that it does not understand Avenida del Ebro instead of Avenida del Euro. That is the promise of the new systems of natural interaction: to be able to talk to the car.

Communication with the car

In reality, BMW proposes something even more complex, a system in which voices, looks and gestures intervene. If the driver is talking to the co-pilot, he can manage the menu of his car with a brief gesture and a glance; If you do not want to take your eyes off the road for a moment, you will prefer voice commands and perhaps combine them with the movement of your hands.

"Customers should be able to communicate in a completely natural way with their smart and connected vehicle," says BMW Group Electronics senior vice president Christoph Grote. And drivers need it more and more: a study from Northwestern University (Illinois, USA) confirms that users of autonomous cars rely much more on these when vehicles are in a certain way human and have a name, gender and voice. "People should not have to think about what operational strategy to use to get what they want," Grote adds.

Connected cars should understand and interact with our environment.

BMW aims to launch this technology in 2021 in the futuristic iNext. From the intelligent interior of this model, passengers can even interact with the environment. Point with your finger and ask: "What's in that building? How long is that business open? What is this restaurant called? Can I park here? " With the advance of connectivity, the driver can reserve a parking space, see how much it costs and pay for it. The internet of things will be another passenger.

In the system of the German mark, the camera of gestures uses a signal of infrared light that captures the movements of the hands and the fingers in three dimensions, and at the same time registers the direction of the head and the eyes. The rest is done by the decoder of the voice instructions and artificial intelligence, which optimizes the interpretation of the data constantly. Automatic learning so that the machine-person relationship is as fluid as possible.

The other great exponent of naturalness as an argument is that of Mercedes-Benz and its multimedia system Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX), premiered during the last year in several of its models. Two words ("Hey, Mercedes") are enough to understand what their creators want: closeness, understanding, almost campechanía. It is the basic command with which the driver can engage in something similar to a conversation.

The Linguatronic system is in charge of the rest, capable (and not only in theory) of recognizing a natural diction, understanding even a foreign pronunciation and deciphering the indirect language. If someone says "I'm cold", the car picks up the message and heats up. That is the way: the next thing will probably be that the machine will clothe the driver.

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