SoundHound and LG Electronics have announced plans to build a voice assistant for cars. The two companies will augment SoundHound’s voice AI platform with LG’s in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system to produce the voice assistant, further widening SounHound’s footprint in space just a couple of weeks after signing a deal with automotive giant Stellantis to embed its AI assistant in several European car brands.
LG SoundHound Cars
LG has designed IVI systems for many automakers that allow drivers and passengers to control the car’s environmental, entertainment, and communication tools. SoundHound’s speech recognition and natural language understanding technology enhance those interactions with conversational voice AI. Along with Stellantis, SoundHound recently added a significant extension to a deal for its tech with Hyundai and counted Kia and Mercedes among its automotive clients.
“Our agreement with LG will allow auto manufacturers of all sizes to deliver the kind of voice-enabled infotainment experience that users have come to expect in every part of their lives,” SoundHound CEO Keyvan Mohajer said. “We’re entering an era where people are beginning to expect to talk to devices in the way they talk to each other, and that those interactions will be helpful and proactive. This experience is enabled by the most advanced voice AI technology.”
Car Voice Commerce
SoundHound’s voice commerce capabilities and partnerships are of particular interest to LG. Paying for gas, food, or parking by voice commands while driving hasn’t been around for very long but is rapidly spreading and SoundHound has been among the early adopters. SoundHound and parking services provider Parkopedia teamed up almost two years ago to help drivers find a place to leave their car when they ask their vehicular voice assistant. And it doesn’t seem a huge leap to imagine linking a SoundHound car voice assistant to restaurant order systems after Square signed up to integrate SoundHound’s phone-based voice assistant for restaurants with its popular payment service.
“We’re excited to collaborate with SoundHound and look forward to providing new in-vehicle experiences through seamlessly integrating its voice AI platform with our latest IVI system architecture,” LG Vehicle component Solutions (VS) Company president Eun Seok-hyun said. “This partnership will allow us to better meet the needs of our auto industry customers and create innovative solutions that will help driving the future of mobility.”
The memorandum of understanding signed by LG and SoundHound leaves the final vision of the car voice assistant amorphous, and it might not ever come to fruition. After all, LG signed a memorandum of understanding with automotive voice AI developer Cerence at CES in early 2020 to build a voice assistant that neither company appears to have mentioned since.
Update: A Cerence spokesperson told Voicebot that the agreement with LG i still in place, and their work is ongoing. LG also serves as the hardware provider on several projects utilizing Cerence’s software. The agreement in 2020 was not exclusive, so additional partnerships like the one with SoundHound are within reason.
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