CES 2017: BMW, Ford, Nissan, and Hyundai all look to add virtual assistants into their vehicles
Carmakers are rapidly adopting virtual assistants to act as smarter forms of voice control for infotainment and other in-car systems.
At CES 2017, it was revealed that BMW and Nissan have both opted to go with Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant, which will make its on the road debut in selected vehicles from the automotive giants in the near future.
Ford is taking a different route and is adopting Amazon’s Alexa as its virtual assistant of choice, which is also looking at making its smartphone debut with Huawei’s Mate 9 flagship mobile device.
Hyundai is going with the Google Assistant for its in-car virtual assistant, which can be currently found in Google’s Pixel smartphones and its Home smart home hub.
Rise of the virtual assistants
While Apple’s Siri was notably absent from the line-up, it can be used via the Cupertino company’s CarPlay system, which acts as a software overlay for connecting and operating iPhones from infotainment units in selected cars, notably the premium and massively expensive Ferrari FF where Siri made its car debut.
Both Ford and Hyundai will look at integrating their chosen virtual assistants into their infotainment software, Sync 3 and Blue Link respectively. And it is likely Nissan and BMW will have a similar approach, though BWM will be exploring exactly how it can best put Cortana to use.
“For example, BMW Connected can provide a reminder en-route of an upcoming appointment for which no location has yet been fixed. And Cortana can be used to make a suitable restaurant recommendation and reserve a table,” the German carmaker said.
For app developers, this could be a boon as it would give them a means to add more functionality into their mobile software and make them suitable for use even when driving.
While both tech and car firms may be looking at creating autonomous driving systems, it seems like the cars of tomorrow will come equipped with features the average consumer would normally expect on a laptop or smartphone.
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