Posted on January 13, 2017
CES 2017: Virtual Assistants, A New Driving Trend
At the always-popular Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las
Vegas this year, automotive tech made an impressive splash with four top
car-makers showcasing new virtual assistant technology from Microsoft, Amazon,
and Google. With various types of AI in the news at every turn, car buyers can
look forward to features focused on making life behind the wheel a lot more
productive. Being stuck in traffic won’t necessarily bring work and personal
tasks to a grinding halt. Meetings can be scheduled, vacations planned, and you
can pick right up where you left off with a hot new audiobook.
Virtual assistants aren’t a new concept, but their exciting,
fast-developing practical applications in the auto-tech realm indicate that
competition will be fierce indeed.
Amazon’s newest offering features Alexa, a voice-activated
virtual assistant in the tradition of Siri. Alexa can work with whatever
net-connected devices you have in your home, opening and closing garage doors
or adjusting thermostats to be just right for your arrival. Just say the word
and Google’s popular Assistant allows you to start the car remotely, tweak
heating or air conditioning, lock doors or plot your next destination. Not only
can Cortana recommend a restaurant as you drive, but it can book you a table.
One important goal with such technologies is to increase the
ease with which we access this wide range of practical tools while operating
our vehicles. Whether gesture or voice activated, the important thing is to
make driving the number one priority. Until the day arrives when we can recline
with a bag of popcorn and watch a movie on our once-stressful commute home,
car-makers are rightly focused on stressing user safety. Studies have shown
that just because a device is hands-free doesn’t mean that it isn’t a
Which practical daily tasks would you most like to ask your new virtual assistant to handle while you drive? What are you most looking forward to
seeing in this exciting area of technical advancement?