Post the success of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in the home, vehicles, and other avenues, Microsoft is now also stepping foot in the ecosystem with the extension of its intelligent assistant Cortana. The Redmond giant in collaboration with automakers Nissan and BMW is today showing off the integration of its digital assistant into their vehicles.
After teasing the integration of Cortana into their vehicles, Nissan has today extended its partnership with Microsoft and taken the wraps of its plans to make Cortana an in-vehicle virtual personal assistant. Microsoft is currently working on the Connected Vehicle Platform, which utilizes Azure, Cortana, and Office 365 to provide assistance to its drivers instantly.
The integration of a virtual assistant, says the official blog post, will enable Nissan to utilize features such as Cortana speech analytics to build advanced voice recognition and intuitive human machine interfaces (HMI). Using the same, vehicles will be able to understand the needs of a driver and adapt to deliver personalized settings to different users — making them feel welcomed.
In its CES press conference, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn demonstrated the Cortana integration through a concept video. It displayed that you can ask the in-car voice assistant about your schedule — ‘What does my schedule look like?’ and it surfaces info via its calendar integration. There is an added capability for Cortana to understand and suggest shortcuts to destinations and make maps available offline overnight. It will further integrate perfectly into the connected car ecosystem which the automaker is working on.
Also, this announcement is coupled with a similar digital assistant integration which has been shown off by BMW today. It is the second car maker who has decided to integrate the voice-controlled capabilities offered by Microsoft’s Cortana into their vehicles as part of their vision. Much like the aforementioned integration, Cortana, which is accessible through a dash screen, will provide BMW drivers with reminders en-route of an upcoming appointment, restaurant suggestions, news, among other ride options.
Using the in-car integration of the digital assistant, the drivers will soon be able to carry out most of the tasks using voice commands — much like they would’ve done on their Windows 10 PC or mobile devices. If you’re feeling tired, you can even ask Cortana to tell a random joke. It might come in handy when you’re relaxing in a self-driving vehicle and want to just have some form of entertainment.
Microsoft is finally paying heed to the advanced AI capabilities of its digital assistant. And as part of its expansion plan, the company is now looking to integrate Cortana into IoT devices in the coming months. So, you should keep your eyes peeled for more partnerships like the one announced a couple weeks ago — Harman Kardon speaker.