AI Evolution of Digital Assistants: Enhancing User Experience

Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers endless opportunities for the evolution of Automotive Digital Assistants. It can add new layers of convenience by anticipating customer needs and proactively providing services, which creates an unknown, seamless customer mobility experience. NTT DATA has showcased the AI Companion at Automotive World to show how digital assistants enhance user trust, engagement & brand loyalty.

This is part 4 of the series "Expanding the Possibilities of Mobility".

Growth of In-Car Digital Assistants

Vehicles are now more than just a mode of transportation. With the proliferation of smartphones, drivers and passengers increasingly expect internet-connected in-car features. This has become a fundamental expectation and automotive manufacturers cannot afford to ignore it. Notably, AI has emerged as a pivotal aspect of this evolution and enabled users to communicate, shop, and customize their surroundings in unprecedented ways.

In modern in-car infotainment systems, sophisticated AI assistants are seamlessly integrated, capable of comprehending drivers' commands with human-like understanding. These AI assistants adeptly respond to inquiries and execute requested actions, enhancing the overall driving experience.

Automotive manufacturers are now actively integrating in-car voice assistants to meet the evolving demands of users. These AI-driven assistants offer tailored interventions, aiming to enhance comfort during driving and foster deeper affinity for the manufacturer's vehicles. Moreover, they serve to expand the automotive ecosystem by forging connections with other industries.

This trend was notably highlighted at CES 2024, one of the world's foremost tech events, where there were showcases for natural language-based interactive assistants, empowering drivers to effortlessly access information and utilize various functions. Additionally, significant attention was drawn to the exploration of new vehicle spaces in anticipation of the era of autonomous driving.

Added Values from In-Car AI Assistants

Traditionally, digital assistants have been viewed as mere interfaces within the car, facilitating basic commands within vehicles. However, their standalone value in enhancing the overall driving experience can be enhanced through conversational prowess and focus on collaboration across a broad spectrum – both within and outside the vehicle.

Collaboration is key to augmenting the added value of in-car AI assistants. By integrating seamlessly with external industries and extending their reach to external services, these assistants can transcend their role as mere conversational interfaces. They become central hubs, managing a plethora of solutions tailored to individual user needs. This evolution transforms them into invaluable service platforms for automotive manufacturers, opening doors to new revenue streams within and beyond the industry.

Moreover, in-car digital assistants offer a unique advantage – the opportunity to collect data to understand users better and grow with them. Collecting anonymous data allows analysis of how people use car features and gain invaluable insights into user preferences and behaviors, enabling adjustments to products & services to enhance user experience. Of course, compliance with data privacy regulations is essential, and global companies, including automotive manufacturers, face challenges in adapting to regional regulations.

But there is more than InCar…

The automotive customer journey is not starting with entering a car and it's not ending at the destination of a trip. The customer has several mobility challenges to solve which begin with the acquisition of a car over the mere usage of the car including the challenges "on the road" up to taking care on aftersales & service related questions. AI Assistants have the power to act as personalized assistants across the whole customer journey and revolutionize the customer experience at a wide variety of digital touchpoints.

At NTT DATA, we have developed a holistic AI Companion and showcased it in the Automotive World. Along with introducing the concept, we showcased a demo around a Metaverse Garage pre-delivery event to get to know and engage with the vehicle before delivery, and In-Car Experience, with experienceable In-Car HMI for a simulated trip and proactive proposals.

Looking Ahead

In-car AI assistants represent a significant advancement in automotive technology, offering enhanced convenience and personalized experiences for users. By embracing these technologies and fostering collaboration, automotive manufacturers can stay at the forefront of innovation and strengthen their relationships with consumers. These assistants hold the key to unlocking new realms of possibilities. By embracing their potential, manufacturers can redefine the driving experience and shape the future of mobility for generations to come.

Markus Ruppenthal

Markus Ruppenthal
Connected Mobility & Automotive Digital Business Innovation, NTT DATA Germany

Toshiki Takei

Toshiki Takei
Global Industry, NTT DATA Group

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