On Thursday, BMW announced an artificial intelligence-powered smart personal assistant to allow drivers talk to their cars just like they talk with their smartphones. The smart “always-on-call” tech tool is likely to get released next year; it is a digital character that can govern navigation, vehicle settings and entertainment systems.
Mercedes-Benz, its competitor, is also planning on releasing a similar AI-charged assistant in its next generation of multimedia system. In this year, Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MUBX) will be launched in the new A-class model of sedan.
Value added services in auto industry are moving towards digital side from the powertrain technology in the car, Dieter May, senior vice president of digital products of BMW, claimed.
“With automated driving, this will accelerate because you have a lot of captive time in the car,” May told. “The interior of a car will totally change, and digital can provide great experiences there to differentiate the car versus competitors.”
Smart in-vehicle personal attendant will save time and will provide suitable driving experience, claimed Brian Moody, an Autotrader’s analyst.
“Today, the real luxury in life is time and convenience,” Moody said.
Natural language processing is used by BMW smart assistant, for instance, it will respond to “Hey, BMW” to assist drivers and passengers naturally interact with the car.
“We are not talking here about voice commands like you know from the past,” Dieter May said. “It’s building a digital character which you can interact with. The digital character … grows the more you use the car, the more you interact with BMW.”
The intelligent assistant will learn from the settings set by driver and can automatically improvise on general commands. For example, “Hey, BMW, I feel tired” command will adjust music, temperature and lights to keep the driver attentive. The assistant will also educate the drivers about the attributes and functions of car.
With time, smart assistant will start to give tips to save fuel; send alerts, like low tire pressure notice; deliver service appointment prompts and can also plan the service. New BMW models including iDrive 7.0 will come with the smart personal assistant, which will also be offered in Live Cockpit Professional.
In a survey by Cox Automotive in 2017, more than half of the drivers are ready to ignore the car style, color and brand if they are getting the hottest technology, and one-third are even ready to sacrifice security.
“The real differentiator is about the experience; it’s about saving time; it’s about convenience,” Moody said.
Automakers are able to develop revenue streams and enhance the user experience, if they can understand the behavior of people in their vehicles, Sam Abuelsamid, a senior analyst, claimed. For automakers, intelligent entertainment and information systems are revenue streams, developing opportunities and market for third party services and apps. These, for example, will permit drivers to discover parking area or make payment for a fuel fill-up.
“Whoever owns the platform can skim a percentage off the top,” Abuelsamid said. “Those nickel and dimes eventually add up to real money.”