It’s not uncommon to catch drivers singing by themselves in their cars, but soon you may see more of them having conversations instead.
Automakers around the world are jumping on the artificial intelligence bandwagon and aiming to offer ChatGPT and similar generative AI features in their vehicles soon.
“Having an assistant and really being able to use voice that is clear enough that you can ask questions and get answers, I think that’s what the artificial intelligence will enable us to do,” GM CEO Mary Barra recently told FOX Business.
One company that knows a lot about chit-chat on the move is SoundHound, a major supplier of voice recognition systems used by several automakers, including Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz.
Its voice assistant technology is used to control things like the navigation and audio systems using a list of commands. But it has taken that to the next level with a product called SoundHound Chat AI for Automotive, which works with generative AI platforms to expand the possibilities.
“What the large language models and the generative AI have done is that they’re really good at capturing all the other scenarios outside the predefined set of use cases,” SoundHound COO Mike Zagorsek told Fox News Digital.
“If you ask something esoteric, it will respond with something. It won’t say, ‘I don’t know the answer.’”
So, instead of just getting direction from point A to B, like built-in navigation systems provide, a driver can request something more nuanced, like the most scenic route or a list of five-star restaurants with more than 100 reviews along the way.
“It’s really allowing you to go a little bit deeper than just the function of it. It’s more conversational,” Zagorsek said.
“It’s an augmentation.”
It can also answer questions like “why are my breaks squeaking?” with potential reasons and solutions for the issue.
But it doesn’t just blindly pull information from the cloud. SoundHound’s system acts as an arbiter between the user and ChatGPT to help avoid so-called “AI hallucinations” that can deliver incorrect or biased responses.
“You really need somebody in between regulating what these things say,” Zagorsek explained.
It does this in part by fine-tuning the question to increase the likelihood of getting a relevant answer and is designed to be updated to work with additional generative AI systems as they are developed.
“We can also vet the response using software engineering to make sure it’s within the bounds of the experience the automaker wants to provide,” Zagorsek said.
“If you’re in a particular car and you ask a question about that car, you want to make sure it’s accurate.”
SoundCloud isn’t ready to announce what automaker will use it first, but Zagorsek said all of its customers have shown great interest and that a survey found that 50% of drivers said they would be likely to use it.
“We will absolutely see it become available within 12 months,” he said.
“I would say that within three years 80% of all cars with voice assistant will have generative AI from us or another company.”