19 March 2019

Much like in our homes, virtual personal assistants (VPAs) such as Siri, Google Home Assistant and Alexa are expected to have a huge impact on the automotive industry over the coming years.

In fact, IHS Markit predicts that nearly 700 million of these software platforms will be enabled in vehicles, whether embedded through mobile device connections or home devices by 2024.

With the emergence of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), vehicle manufacturers are adding more and more technology to their vehicles to help bring about their vision of a connected, safer and more secure driving experience.

Manufacturers such as BMW have already developed their own version of VPAs, which are shaping the way business drivers use their vehicles. According to their website, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant lets you be “productive while on the road”, for example by reading out emails or finding the quickest route to a destination.

However, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant only deals with the functions of the vehicle, rather than acting as a true virtual assistant and connecting to smart devices in homes or offices. But there is plenty of room for future development.

What will the most common options be in the future?

Embedded VPAs

As the name suggested, this VPA is embedded, or at least partially stored, in the vehicle itself. This is the most common VPA, with most modern vehicles having this technology as standard.
Information for simple tasks, such as voice-activated phone calls, are stored in the vehicle, whilst more complex tasks such as searching for places of interest take place in the cloud.

VPA, via smartphone integration only

This format means that VPA exists within a smartphone integration system. This technology is already on the market, in the form of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The VPA can use the in-vehicle voice recognition software and internal microphones, but also has the ability to work only with the microphone of the smartphone.

Device-to-car

Device-to-car VPAs are solutions that are able to send commands from a home device (such as the Amazon Echo) to the vehicle. The functionality of these systems varies, but they will typically include a smart home device to send directions or start the vehicle remotely.

Further reading

To discover more on effective fleet management, reducing operating costs and incorporating green fleet strategies, take a look at the articles listed below.

In summary, organisations that are looking for ways to enhance their operations and incorporate new technology into their fleet should keep an eye on in-car personal assistants.

Whilst the technology may still be developing, there are exciting times ahead for fleet managers and their company. 

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