Common use cases for Voice AI in Auto
Oct 14, 2021
7 MIN READ

Top 5 Reasons Voice AI is Driving the Future of Auto

In-car voice assistants have become more than just a way to pull up music and navigation, hands-free. They are becoming the standard for exceptional driving experiences by offering functionalities that are defining the future of the auto industry. As car manufacturers seek to differentiate themselves in a market increasingly saturated with the latest technological advancements, they’ll need to distinguish themselves with voice AI that surpasses user expectations and needs. 

Voice assistants are also increasingly becoming a standard feature in cars, making creating one that stands out from the crowd an imperative. A new report by Voicebot.ai revealed that in 2021, there were about 127 million users (49% of the U.S. adult population) of voice assistants in the U.S. With voice AI, auto manufacturers are creating driving experiences beyond traveling from one location to another but filled with essential safety features and connectivity options. 

Additionally, the demand for such a market means an ever-growing potential for increased profit and new revenue streams. According to Acumen Research and Consulting, the global automotive voice recognition system market is expected to reach a market value of around $39 billion by 2027. As we transition into a voice-first world, there are numerous reasons for this growth in voice-enabled cars. 

Here are the top five reasons why voice AI is now a must-have for automakers:

  1. Connectivity
  2. Voice AI design
  3. Enhanced safety
  4. Autonomous cars
  5. Branding and user data

1. A demand for greater connectivity

Consumers are demanding more from their automobiles than basic navigation and music. Instead of having driving as a time away from the connectivity and features of a smartphone or computer, drivers want to be able to continue getting information and connecting to other devices as they travel. In-car voice assistants create the ultimate luxury by giving drivers access to a wealth of information and functionality hands-free. 

The demand for more connectivity from consumers has led to a continuous process of innovation. According to Statista, 70% of vehicles will be connected to the internet by 2023, showing that more auto manufacturers are realizing the consumer demand to expand the driving experience. With cloud connectivity, consumers can ask a variety of questions from the weather to stock prices, find gas stations, order take out, and stream entertainment, all hands-free. The capabilities of the internet are all within their reach, creating a dynamic experience that satisfies their wants and needs. 

70% of vehicles will be connected to the internet by 2023.

Statista

Consumer expectations also go well beyond just having cloud connectivity. They also want to be able to command embedded features, such as rolling up and down the windows, adjusting the air, and turning on or off seat warmers with their voice. A hybrid model, one with cloud connectivity and embedded functionality, provides the optimal user experience by giving drivers access to the wealth of information on the cloud as well as all the convenience of embedded features. It’s also useful if the driver veers into a scenic route or mountains without WIFI so they can still use some features of the voice assistant even when they’re not connected to the cloud. 

2. Need for streamlined voice AI design

Whether it’s for a smartphone, tablet, or smart TV, anything with a screen needs an exceptional design to entice the customer to purchase and continue to use it. Voice assistants are no exception. A poor voice AI design could lead to user frustration and even abandonment of the voice assistant, maybe forever. 

A poor voice AI design could lead to user frustration and even abandonment of the voice assistant, maybe forever. 

The main challenge for the auto industry is designing a simple, intuitive, and effective voice interface that quickly and accurately understands the user, has the knowledge to provide useful responses, and allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road. A voice AI fails if it misinterprets the user, requiring the user to take their eyes off of the road and onto a screen. In-car experiences must be equal—if not better—than the technology that’s already available on people’s phones. Safety depends on it. 

The future of in-car interfaces will be heavily influenced by the evolution of voice AI. Auto companies are already investing heavily in developing the next generation of infotainment systems with monetization and personalization capabilities. Auto brands that don’t keep up with changing consumer expectations will be left behind as competitors gain market share.

3. Enhancing safety on the roads

While consumers may want more convenience and functionality in their driving experience, a focus on improving safety is one of the most valuable benefits of voice assistants. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving accounts for 8% of fatal crashes, 15% of injury crashes, and 14% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes. 

Distracted driving accounts for 8% of fatal crashes, 15% of injury crashes, and 14% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes. 

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Keeping hands on the wheel and eyes on the road is more than just a feature for a great user experience but one that actively prevents crashes, injuries, and fatalities. Voice assistants have become just as valuable of an asset as advanced features, such as emergency braking, sensors, blind-spot monitors, and collision warnings. Even looking down for a second to roll up and down the windows or to skip a song could be a second too late. 

A truly seamless and efficient voice assistant can help prevent drivers from taking their eyes off the road. The desire for increased in-car productivity doesn’t have to come at the expense of safety. With voice assistants, brands can ensure their customers have all of the features and a safe driving experience. Auto-manufactures that don’t currently have voice AI on their roadmaps should invest before their technology becomes as outdated as key ignitions.

4. The future of autonomous cars

Self-driving cars have continuously been touted as the future of the automotive industry. According to Allied Market Research, the global autonomous vehicle market size was valued at $54.23 billion in 2019 and will grow to be worth $556.67 billion by 2026. In an already crowded space with multiple companies racing to build and launch autonomous vehicles, voice AI can directly impact this new market by giving brands with superior voice AI an edge over their competitors.

The global autonomous vehicle market size is projected to be valued at $54.23 billion in 2019 and to be worth $556.67 billion by 2026.

Allied Market Research

Autonomous cars have yet to become a widespread reality, and profits and brand awareness will be higher for the first company that successfully launches a widely available, voice-enabled AI solution. However, not all voice AI is created equal. A truly conversational interface that delivers fast, accurate responses to conversational speech could be the differentiator needed in a saturated market. 

5. Controlling brand experiences and user data

Voice AI has created what can only be described as an arms race to see who can capture market shares faster. While voice AI is driving in-car accessibility and increased utility, automakers remain focused on maintaining control over their brand, user experiences, and customer data. 

Automakers remain focused on maintaining control over their brand, user experiences, and customer data. 

Control over your brand is more important than ever in an age where one’s logo, colors, and sonic branding can be a market differentiator. Auto companies are looking to innovate while still retaining the essence and voice of their brand within their in-car systems. If you don’t own your voice assistant, your users could be interacting with a third-party’s brand instead of yours, making connections and lasting impressions with a different brand. 

Auto manufacturers, such as Hyundai and Mercedes, are actively developing and marketing infotainment systems that differentiate them in the market by using their branding to connect with their users and their data to improve their voice user interface. Whereas other brands, such as Buick with their New Alexa commercial, have given their brand over to third-party platforms, resulting in becoming subordinate to the third-party with the user having no lasting impressions of the brand. It’s essential that auto manufacturers consider the long-term costs of not owning their voice assistant when embarking on a voice-first strategy. 

Are you ready for a voice-enabled future?

Voice-enabled conversational interfaces represent the next evolution in human computing that will impact every business in the years to come. Auto brands, in particular, are focused on enhancing driver experiences, safety, and connectivity to be a differentiator in the market with exceptional voice AI design. As technology continues to advance, voice assistants will take us into the next era of driving experiences. 

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

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