BMW, Samsung and Panasonic have announced a collaboration to develop “intelligent assistants” for connected car technology. The giant corporations have teamed up with Nuance – a speech recognition and artificial intelligence company – to enable speech systems to better understand and process regional or country-specific accents. In addition it is expected that the new speech recognition technology will be able to distinguish between words which constitute a command for a car and those that form part of a conversation, for example. Likewise the technology will not be fooled by the conversations spoken on radio shows.
The first speech recognition systems launched over ten years ago struggled to understand commands sent to the car by a person with a strong regional accent or to distinguish car-related commands and normal conversations or radio chat shows, but, as the number of connected cars have increased, the need to provide speech recognition capable of understanding the nuances of human idiomatic language becomes more important.
This is the issue that Nuance is trying to address with its latest customised speech recognition software.
The message to software application developers is to map customized speech recognition to the specific needs of the app. Where we get to (in theory) with this technology is IoT robots that can understand context, semantic and natural conversational language. If that mapping has to also include the ability to differentiate between a myriad of regional accents, then so be it.
The suggestion here is that customized speech intelligence for IoT robots will also be needed in industrial robotics, wearables and fitness apps — it will also be of use in Virtual Reality and gaming scenarios. As Mike Thompson, executive vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile said:
“Nuance Mix gives device makers and developers the ability to create customized voice and natural language interfaces for the Internet of Things (IoT), including segments such as smart home, gaming, robotics and consumer health and fitness. The rapidly evolving ecosystem of specialized devices and services for the IoT and industrial Internet will be defined by the user experience – and the stakes are high in bringing these innovations into an incredibly competitive market.”