Automotive HMI Development: The future of in-car digital assistants

It’s estimated there are roughly 4.2 billion digital voice assistants  begin used around the globe, and that number is growing at a blistering rate. Automotive companies already integrate aspects of the technology into vehicles built today, and vehicle HMI development converges on voice control for an increasing number of functions. As the technology matures, in-car digital assistants will grow in their capabilities.

Where will HMI engineering be able to take in-car digital assistants? This is one of the automotive HMI trends that will change how people interact with their cars and the environment around them. The players aren’t just car companies either; major non-industry developers are integrating their offerings into the automotive realm too.

Source: Pexels

Voice control will take center stage

The most intuitive way of communicating is vocally – at least, for humans. It’s possible for AI-powered vehicle HMI systems to listen and comprehend not just instructions, but intentions as well. It’s the difference between instructing your car’s audio system to switch to a favorite artist compared to saying, “I’d like to listen to something more upbeat.”

Voice control can work for every facet of an in-car assistant, and it will become more intrinsic in coming years. Expect to be able to control not just climate and audio but ordering food without placing a call yourself, telling your car where to drop you off before finding a parking spot, and much more. Wolfgang Klein, Design Director at Star company said in a podcast, “When it just feels so natural to talk to their car, people expect that it’s just as smart as a human being.”

Gesture recognition

In-car digital assistants will also be able to read body language and non-verbal, physical gestures. It’s a system that automotive development services prepared for BMW already, and you can expect the same type of tech to find its way into other brands. With a wave, head nod, or air swipe, your digital assistant can perform tasks faster than if you were to dictate your command.

Intuitive settings

Imagine getting into your car with the seat warmed or cooled, your mirrors set, the steering wheel properly positioned, and your preferred music artist lightly playing through the speakers. It’s already possible with memory settings, but even more intuitive controls can predict what you’d prefer. For example, common destinations could be suggested in your maps already, and setting your cabin lighting and comfort according to your perceived mood or body positioning could make your be some of the features automotive HMI development services could put into practice.

Self-scheduled charging or refueling

Picture that you’ve exited your car in the parking garage at the office with a quarter tank of fuel remaining. When your return, your car’s tank is full. It could be the same condition for EV charging. An in-car digital assistant could autonomously take your car to refuel and have it back before you’ve finished your meeting, since your location and calendar are already known. It’s convenient and time-saving – two things that drivers want from their cars.

Further integration into non-automotive functionality

HMI development software is crossing industry lines, and it will continue to do so. Your in-car assistant could suggest ordering your mother flowers for her birthday while you commute, then place the order on your behalf. It could communicate with your in-home digital assistant and pre-condition your home’s climate for your arrival ahead of time. And since familiarity is a factor for vehicle owners in adopting and integrating this tech, shared UIs from other major providers become a likely option for carmakers.

New cars today almost all have aspects of digital assistants created by developers like the Star company. With a focus on safety, convenience, and productivity, you’re bound to see new ideas come to life within your next vehicle.

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