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Car, we have to talk! Bosch puts the voice assistant behind the wheel

  • “Bosch is putting an end to the button chaos in the cockpit. We turn the voice assistant into a passenger,” says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, Member of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH.
  • Voice talent at Bosch is by nature multilingual and does not require an external data connection for support.
  • “Casey”, “Linda”, or “Michael”: The driver decides on the name for the Bosch voice assistant.

Hildesheim, Germany — “I’m Casey, your new passenger. Are you ready to get started?” Voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri, Google, Cortana, and Bixby have taken charge of smart households, control lighting and the vacuum cleaner – Bosch now puts the voice assistant behind the wheel. The newly developed technology frees drivers from distractions so that they can concentrate on their essential task. “When drivers get into a modern car, they can sometimes feel like an airplane pilot – buttons, screens, a confusing menu navigation with a thousand sub-menus. Bosch is putting an end to the button chaos in the cockpit. Instead, we turn the voice assistant into a passenger,” says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, Member of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH. The assistant, who responds to the name “Casey” the first time the driver gets in, makes driving safer as well as more comfortable. According to a study from the Allianz Center for Technology, German car drivers are frequently distracted when, for instance, they operate the navigation system, adjust the air conditioning, or answer a phone call. This kind of distraction is one of the primary causes of road accidents.

Bosch is putting an end to the button chaos in the cockpit. Instead, we turn the voice assistant into a passenger.

Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, Member of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH

Responds to every word – even offline

Voice command functions of the past offered little help in this respect. They are frequently structured as a menu of possible options. The driver must commit the structure to memory and read the required commands from the display, and that is just as distracting. “Say what you want the way you want to say it – Bosch puts a voice assistant in the car who understands the driver just like another person would,” says Hoheisel. The Bosch assistant no longer responds to rigidly worded commands. The voice recognition system understands natural sentence structures and can even handle accents and dialects, and it does so in more than 30 countries of the world. English is not simply English for the talented linguist Casey; she speaks a British, American, New Zealand, or Australian dialect. More than a decade of work has been invested in the development of the voice control. Casey can do something that goes beyond the capabilities of even well-known competitors. She thinks ahead and learns. If, for instance, the driver wants to call “Paul”, the system automatically reviews the contacts and considers the driver’s present location, time, and situation before responding. When on the way to the office in the morning, “Paul” probably means the colleague at work while the same name in the evening might refer to the best friend. To make sure, Casey asks a question: “I have found five contacts called Paul. Do you want to call Paul Stevenson?” This dependency on context is a first stage of artificial intelligence. Another bit of sophisticated technology: the driver can, for example, also enter destination addresses in France in French – without having to make any changes in the settings manually. One example: “Take me to Champ de Mars, Cinq Avenue Anatole Paris.” Casey automatically understands the destination and calculates the route to the Eiffel Tower. What’s more: the Bosch assistant has no need whatsoever of an external data connection. The infotainment system in the car takes over the calculation without sending any data to the cloud. Casey even stays with the drivers in tunnels, when far away from areas with good mobile network coverage, or in other countries when the smartphone is offline.

Responds to any name

The conversation in the car becomes even more personal when the driver christens the assistant with the name of his or her choice. The days are past when the voice command system responded only to the name given by the manufacturer. Regardless of whether it is called “Casey”, “Michael”, or “Linda”, the Bosch voice recognition system understands and speaks 30 different languages with a total of 44 female and 9 male voices. The driver activates the assistant by calling out “Hey, Casey” or uses the new name given to the assistant. The driver starts every new dialog simply by speaking directly to the assistant; no longer does the driver have to wait for a peep before starting to talk.

Tags: HMI, Human-Machine-Interface, voice assistant, Voice control, Artificial Intelligence, connected mobility, connectivity

Voice assistant video

Overview of all features of the Bosch voice assistant

Bosch at CES 2018:

  • PRESS CONFERENCE: In Ballrooms B, C, and D, Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas South Convention Center, Level 2, from 8:00 to 8:45 a.m. local time on Monday, Jan 8.

  • BOOTH: Tuesday to Friday, Jan 9–12, in the Central Hall, booth #14028

  • FOLLOW the Bosch CES 2018 highlights on Twitter: #BoschCES

  • PANELS WITH BOSCH EXPERTS:
    • Tuesday, January 9, 1:30 – 3:15 p.m. (local time): “Connect2Car: Next-Gen Automobility” session with Kay Stepper, Vice President of Bosch in North America, head of driver assistance and automated driving, Las Vegas, Convention Center, North Hall, N256
    • Wednesday, Jan 10, 1:45–2:30 p.m. (local time): “Connected Vehicles in Connected Ecosystems” session with Mike Mansuetti, President Bosch North America, Smart Cities Conference, Westgate.
    • Thursday, Jan 11, 11:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m. (local time): “The Future of Robots at Work and Home” session with Phil Roan, Senior Engineer Robotics, BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, Las Vegas Convention Center, North Hall, N258

Mobility Solutions is the largest Bosch Group business sector. According to preliminary figures, its 2017 sales came to 47.4 billion euros, or 61 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. The Mobility Solutions business sector pursues a vision of mobility that is accident-free, emissions-free, and stress-free, and combines the group’s expertise in the domains of automation, electrification, and connectivity. For its customers, the outcome is integrated mobility solutions. The business sector’s main areas of activity are injection technology and powertrain peripherals for internal-combustion engines, diverse solutions for powertrain electrification, vehicle safety systems, driver-assistance and automated functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, repair-shop concepts, and technology and services for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch is synonymous with important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 402,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2017). The company generated sales of 78.1 billion euros in 2017. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology.

As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected manufacturing. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 125 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 64,500 associates in research and development.

Additional information is available online at www.bosch.com, www.iot.bosch.com, www.bosch-press.com, www.twitter.com/BoschPresse.