- Honda partnered with SoundHound, a technology company that focuses on voice-enabled artificial intelligence (AI), on the development of a new voice assistant, according to a news release.
- SoundHound's Houndify platform offers proprietary "Speech-to-Meaning" and "Deep Meaning Understanding" technologies, as well as "Collective AI," which it claims allows the companies it works with to have greater control over the user experience.
- The collaboration comes from the automaker's Honda Xcelerator program supporting startups, which is led by Honda Innovations.
The automotive category is carefully watching the development of AI-powered voice assistants, and Honda's new project with SoundHound shows the brand trying to trying to put its own spin on the technology to improve drivers' user experience. The move comes at a time when more automakers are opting to integrate third-party offerings such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant into their vehicles. Amazon in September ramped up its push to integrate Alexa into cars through Echo Auto, an eight-microphone device that allows users to access music, navigation and calling features.
The Honda news additionally signals how many legacy brands, in automotive and also other categories, are tapping into startup accelerator and incubator programs to stay on the bleeding edge of technological innovation. The bottling giant Coca-Cola Amatil, for example, recently acquired a minority stake in TabSquare, a Singapore-based restaurant tech startup, through its corporate venture platform Amatil X.
Artificial intelligence and related technologies are becoming more attractive to marketers searching for innovative ways to personalize their experiences. While few details were available about how Honda will leverage the SoundHound technology, auto brands are field in the technology to enhance driver experiences and potentially attract younger, more tech-savvy consumers, who haven't embraced car ownership as readily as older generations.
In the auto sector, Cars.com recently announced the launch of an AI-powered vehicle matchmaking platform to help streamline its car-shopping experience. The platform uses machine learning that offers car recommendations based on users' lifestyle preferences.
Consumers are also increasingly adopting voice technology and AI, which presents fresh opportunities in areas like commerce. Ownership of voice-ready smart speakers, for example, jumped to 27% of consumers this year versus 14% in 2017, according to a recent study by Visa and Pymnts.com. Twenty-eight percent of respondents who owned voice-activated speakers said they had used them to make a purchase in the past seven days.