Marc Andressen, an entrepreneur and investor best known for his Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, wrote an essay for The Wall Street Journal titled “Why Software Is Eating The World.” The essay, which was published in 2011, touched on many subjects. However, the primary focus was on the growth that was happening in the software industry. Software has continued its massive growth trajectory, becoming more heavily used in health care, national defense, agriculture, and much more.
One area of software that is growing rapidly and has the ability to not only improve lives, but also make the drive for your students a lot more safe, is voice recognition software in automobiles. Cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs have had a long history of software that runs the engines, controls safety features, entertains passengers, and monitors performance. Usually, it is a basic functionality that is for the most part hidden from the driver’s knowledge. Until now, with speech recognition and Artificial Intelligence software making leaps and bounds in their abilities, major car companies have been integrating with third-party software companies.
Today, two of the largest technology companies, Apple and Google, are integrating their unique platforms into most new automobiles on the road. Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto are stripped-down versions of their platforms that everyone uses on their cell-phones. They also include the ability to communicate by way of voice commands. Getting directions, making calls, sending and receiving message, and selecting the right playlist for the commute can all be done hands free. Eighty percent of college students text and drive according to an article at US News & World Report; with ae paradigm shift like this in the way drivers communicate with their automobiles via speech could result in a safer, smarter driving experience for your students (and you).
Apple and Google are not the only companies trying to improve the driving experience with an Artificial Intelligence system that recognizes speech. Amazon has recently announced an after market device called Echo Auto. The Echo Auto can be placed on the dashboard of any automobile, providing the car with a speech recognition interface along with access to Amazon’s AI platform, Alexa. Older automobiles built without a speech recognition interface can now easily upgrade simply by connecting the Echo Auto via bluetooth or USB. This means students on a tighter budget can also have a safer driving experience, without spending where money isn’t allocated.
A voice command interface will make the roads a safer place for drivers by removing the need for the driver to take their eyes off the road. Imagine your international students being able to order their favorite coffee drink or make dinner plans on their drive to campus, without ever having to take their hands off the steering wheel or eyes off the road. It certainly takes safety up a notch. Having an Artificial Intelligence system that recognizes speech inside your car is still a new and strange concept for many people. Regardless, as this technology continues to improve, we can also hope for more safe trips on the road.