Six languages to start…
VW subsidiary Skoda says it is rolling out its very own voice assistant dubbed “Laura”, which will be able to control certain vehicle functions.
The Czech Republic-headquartered car company says the system can start navigation to a desired destination, or take dictation for an SMS.
It supports Czech, English, French, Germany, Italian, and Spanish and features natural language recognition, so there’s no need for predetermined commands.
The decision to roll out its own voice assistant comes after parent company Volkswagen Group signed a major deal with Microsoft 12 months ago that will see five million new VW brand vehicles per year connected to Azure from 2020.
There was no mention of Microsoft’s own Cortana voice assistant in that agreement, however, and while Audi is using Amazon’s Alexa in its SUVs, Skoda appears to have decided it is more cost-effective to develop the tool itself.
The news comes the same day that over 30 companies, including Amazon, BMW, Microsoft and others agreed to collaborate to make their voice assistants work across devices (including in vehicles), so a given end-user’s device can run any number of voice assistants; waking them with their respective trigger word.
Google, meanwhile, has signed a global multi-year agreement to equip Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi vehicles with “intelligent infotainment systems” running on Android.
“Laura” will be available in the KAMIQ and SCALA vehicles.