I think we’ve all wondered a time or two when cars would come equipped with a computer companion like Night Rider’s KITT, and AT&T is bringing us one step closer to that reality with its new plan for a voice-enabled virtual assistant that can be used by automotive manufacturers.
No, it won’t drive the car, and it can’t see, but the new virtual car passenger will provide information like directions and weather updates.
AT&T is partnering with Panasonic Automotive Systems and QNX Software Systems, and the three will use AT&T’s WATSON speech engine (which is similar to Siri) to provide a complete cloud-based voice-enabled natural language mobile assistant for wirelessly connected vehicles (it’s only a matter of time before we see those).
Since this is still in the early prototype phase, it’s unlikely we will be seeing cars with the new feature for quite some time. AT&T’s Watson isn’t the only new voice-enabled technology we’ve seen at CES. Nuance’s Dragon TV has also been developed to allow users to control television systems with voice commands.
Now that our TVs and our cars will be wired with personal assistants, what’s next? More home interconnectivity, with any luck. “Microwave, pop that popcorn!” and “Shower, turn on!” are just some of the phrases we may be uttering in the future as this technology catches on.