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Virtual personal assistants poised for fast growth as Alexa, Google Assistant and others target vehicle integration

Monday, March 4, 2019 - 09:00
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New Interfaces, Displays Coming
There were plenty of other in-vehicle infotainment innovations on display at CES. Samsung subsidiary HARMAN International unveiled a number of new technology initiatives aimed at the passenger compartment. Those include a new Digital Cockpit platform that is scalable across a range of vehicles and that can show ADAS data, navigation, multi-media player information, and feature menus. The solution can also integrate with a driver’s smartphone to integrate with personal assistants like Alexa.

The company’s Premium Digital Cockpit and Compute Platform with integrated modular hardware integrates with a vehicle’s cluster, infotainment, and safety features, along with facial recognition and sensor-based cabin monitoring.  

HARMAN also offers a Premium Communication platform for smart audio and acoustic signal processing that can accommodate voice-based solutions. HARMAN also announced it was working to equip more vehicles with 5G telematics solutions to improve its ability to update in-vehicle systems. 

Parent company Samsung was on hand with its Exynos Auto V, the company’s first dedicated automotive system-on-a-chip for in-vehicle infotainment solutions. It can support up to six HR displays. It can also support facial, speech, and gesture recognition solutions. 

Audi drivers could soon have access to a virtual reality gaming application from Holoride (a start-up co-founded by Audi Electronic Venture) that uses VR headsets to let passengers play a game that features Marvel Comics character Rocket Raccoon flying a spaceship. When the vehicle brakes or turns, the same thing happens in the game. 

WayRay demonstrated an augmented reality solution that projects 3D images onto the road ahead. Those images can include arrows for navigation or markers that show the locations of businesses that may be hidden from the driver. WayRay is also working on side window projectors that give even more information to passengers. WayRay is already working with Honda, Hyundai and Porsche.

Another company, Sain-Gobain Sekurit also demonstrated an augmented reality windshield, and Texas Instruments is working on AR side-window displays.

Valeo, meanwhile, will offer “invisible trailer” software that uses cameras to give truck drivers a rear view with the correct perspective, so that they can virtually “see through” the trailer attached to the vehicle.

Honda’s Dream Drive: Passenger app runs on portable tablets and uses data form the car to and navigation system to affect games on the mobile device. Dream Drive also has a driver display component that allows drivers to make purchases from the vehicle, in addition to making restaurant reservations, buying movie tickets, and order food via GrubHub. Passengers, meanwhile, can watch movies, read DC comic books and listen to music via the apps. 

Mercedes-Benz is expanding its MBUX infotainment system to more models, including the CLA Class and GLE-Class SUV. It includes augmented reality for navigation, voice support, and gesture controls. There are also motion sensors that can turn interior lights on and off. There’s also an integrated voice assistant.

Clarion also announced a number of new infotainment products, including smart cockpit technologies that use integrated artificial intelligence for driver monitoring, new display audio units, and Tactile Wave Audio, which uses interior components of the auto to provide sound via coneless speakers. 

New cockpit systems will also have access to much larger displays. Electric vehicle startup Byton offers a 48-inch screen in its M-Byte car. The 2019 Mercedes EQC has to 10.25-inch displays, and the Chrysler RAM 1500 has a 12-inch vertical display. 

Given how many features that OEMs and tech companies are trying to cram into the vehicle, they will likely make good use of the extra display real estate.

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