Nuance taps HERE maps to bolster connected car platform

The partnership will combine HERE's mapping knowhow and point-of-interest data with Nuance's artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology.

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Mapping and location service provider HERE has teamed up with Nuance Communications to develop smarter in-vehicle location technology powered by voice.

The partnership will combine HERE's mapping knowhow and point-of-interest (POI) data with Nuance's artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology.

Eventually, Nuance plans to use the technology to bolster the navigation capabilities of its Dragon Drive connected car platform, with the aim of creating a system that allows the user to issue very basic instructions, yet receive a more effective response.

Unveiled last month, the Dragon Drive Automotive Assistant is designed to give drivers a conversational and personalized virtual assistant in the dash of their car. It uses natural language processing for tasks such as phone dialing, music search and playback, and message dictation.

"There are two layers in a voice recognition solution: the layer that recognizes human voice and the actual words issuing driver commands, and the other layer that validates the command against what the system expects, which is the grammar, language or terminology," said Arnd Weil, SVP for Nuance Automotive, in a blog post.

"As such, we need a strong dataset of map and POI data to train and advance our voice recognition. Otherwise the quality and accuracy of the content delivered to the driver will be severely impacted. By leveraging HERE data, we are able to further ensure that the driver receives the most accurate, relevant content available."

As for HERE, the company was sold by Nokia last year to a consortium of automakers including Audi, BMW, and Daimler. Coincidentally, Nuance recently inked a deal with BMW to place the Dragon Drive platform inside 2015 and 2016 BMW models.

The race for best automotive assistant technology has become increasingly competitive. This year's Consumer Electronics Show was dominated by automakers touting various smart-car strategies. For instance, Toyota revealed plans to adopt Ford's open-source entertainment software project SmartDeviceLink in its cars.

Around that same time, Ford said it will be making Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available to all Sync 3-equipped vehicles built this year.

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