In-car driving experiences
Jun 02, 2022
3 MIN READ

How Conversational AI is Driving Automobiles into the Future

Delivering frictionless and delightful in-car experiences for drivers and passengers is no longer a luxury for automotive OEMs—it’s an imperative. Customers are increasingly considering the quality of their driving experience a must-have factor in their purchasing decisions. As technology continues to evolve and consumer demand grows, automakers will find that their entertainment and infotainment features will become their key differentiators in the market.  

According to Allied Market Research, the global in-car infotainment market was valued at $21,410 million in 2020 and is projected to reach $37,530.4 million by 2028. The rapid growth  and focus on the in-car experience reflect consumer demands for ease, convenience, and entertainment for everyone in the vehicle—including passengers.

Already, major auto manufacturers are voice-enabling a wide range of vehicles—not just the top-of-the-line models. Features, such as edge and cloud technology, multiple-language capabilities, and voice commerce, are moving in-car voice experiences from step-by-step commands to conversational experiences that are frictionless and helpful to users, while offering auto OEMs more opportunities to expand into the world of e-commerce and voice payments—delivering real revenue and Return On Investment (ROI).

SoundHound and Hyundai partner for conversational AI in vehicles

Hyundai Logo

SoundHound and Hyundai are partnering for a 7-year deal to include SoundHound’s Edge+Cloud voice AI technology, music recognition software, voice commerce solution, and multiple-language conversational intelligence in a broad range of vehicle models globally. This announcement coincides with SoundHound’s 2022 Q1 earnings release, featuring $230 million in cumulative bookings spanning multiple verticals and demonstrating broad business momentum. Through its long-term partnership with Hyundai, SoundHound is expected to further grow bookings based on upcoming delivery milestones.

The new agreement brings SoundHound’s Edge+Cloud voice AI technology in multiple languages to numerous Hyundai vehicles, including Genesis, Hyundai, and Kia—creating one seamless and responsive voice interface for in-car controls and cloud-based searches and significantly improving the voice experience. With units launching in several languages across North America and India, the companies have confirmed plans to add more languages and regions over time.

“Our partnership with SoundHound opens up possibilities for us to push the capabilities of voice inside Genesis, Hyundai, and Kia vehicles and enhance our customers’ driving experiences beyond what is possible today. SoundHound’s solution gives us the freedom to have a single hybrid solution that provides a seamless experience between cloud and edge voice capabilities.”
Paul ChooExecutive VP

Infotainment Development Center at Hyundai Motor Company

Key to this agreement is SoundHound’s newly developed Edge+Cloud voice solution for automakers. The technology has been optimized for the unique automotive environment and pairs with SoundHound’s cloud-based voice AI technology to give drivers more options for in-car controls and features like navigation even when the cloud is not available. SoundHound’s Edge solution is built to deliver voice AI capabilities in environments where speed and accuracy have to be balanced with mission-critical memory and CPU footprint requirements.

The size and scope of this agreement will allow Hyundai to bring the power of voice AI to drivers in every class of vehicle in markets around the globe. SoundHound’s Edge+Cloud and Active Arbitration technologies deliver a seamless, conversational voice experience not previously possible with a single voice AI platform. The companies are also partnering to identify and deliver voice commerce opportunities to Hyundai customers including food ordering, voice payment, and promotions from content domain partners.

Hyundai and SoundHound first announced their partnership in 2014, again in 2017 with an agreement to bring voice to Hyundai cars in 2019, and again in 2020 with the introduction of Hyundai’s dynamic voice recognition system in their 2021 Elantra and Elantra Hybrid vehicles in North America. Hyundai will now supplement the cloud solution with SoundHound’s Edge connectivity voice AI and begin rolling out the new voice experience across regions globally.

Must-have features for in-car voice assistants

As more and more consumers begin to expect to interact with the world around them with just their voice, having a fast, accurate, and efficient voice assistant built on an independent voice AI platform has moved from a nice-to-have to a necessity. Voice experiences built on advanced voice AI platforms are opening up opportunities for auto manufacturers to innovate and expand in-car voice experiences to include more models, geographies, and use cases.

These features are driving in-car voice assistants into the future:

  • Seamless embedded and cloud connectivity
  • Multiple language capabilities
  • Voice commerce opportunities

Connectivity options

In the past, automakers had to choose which voice AI technology provider would enable in-car functionality—such as rolling down the windows, changing the cabin temperature, and turning on or off the lights and which provider could deliver the best cloud-based query voice assistant. Now, using Edge+Cloud connectivity technology, automakers can get both embedded and cloud functionality from one voice AI vendor. Advanced technologies, such as Active Arbitration, allow voice assistants to instantly choose between embedded voice functions or retrieving information from the cloud and deliver seamless user experiences.

Edge technology has the benefit of enabling users to roll up and down the windows, turn on or off seat warmers, and still access their voice assistant even when in remote, scenic locations with no internet connections. Cloud connectivity gives drivers and passengers the ability to stream music, order food, ask questions, navigate, and more.

Multilingual voice assistants

Drivers and passengers will feel most comfortable in their cars when they are able to speak in their native languages. Car sales are rarely limited to one geography, making multiple-language capabilities essential for auto manufacturers. Even in locations where everyone speaks the same language, regional differences in accents can make voice experiences frustrating. 

Only voice AI technology that delivers high-accuracy with accented language will allow car makers to create the kind of universally-positive experiences that grow customer loyalty and drive repeat purchases.

Voice commerce opportunities

Many auto manufacturers are well on their way to investing in voice commerce as the future of automotive. Not only will monetizable moments generate revenue for auto manufacturers and prove ROI, but they will also provide value to drivers and passengers by proactively giving them suggestions that will fulfill needs that happen naturally along their journeys—such as prepaying for gas, charging stations, or parking or ordering food for delivery or pickup. Through monetization opportunities, automakers will drive partnerships and improve the in-car experience through personalized experiences. 

Auto manufacturers looking to surpass consumers’ wants, needs, and expectations can consider key benefits that will improve the driving experience, such as connectivity options, multiple-language capabilities, and voice commerce. Conversational AI is never a one-and-done project but continuously evolves based on new technology and user feedback.


At SoundHound, we have all the tools and expertise needed to create custom voice assistants and a consistent brand voice. Explore SoundHound’s independent voice AI platform at SoundHound.com and register for a free account here. Want to learn more? Talk to us about how we can help bring your voice strategy to life.

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