Voice automation in cars

We’ve had a bumpy ride recently, with the automobile/automation combo. Of course, it’s been impossible to ignore the tragic news of a Tesla driverless car taking a human life, not to mention the accidents and deaths that texting/social media-ing and driving causes every year. But a complete ban on technology and cars mixing is unenforceable, and perhaps shortsighted. Even using a sat nav requires an amount of distraction from the road, even if you have a trusty ‘Co-driver’ with you. It’s the pressing buttons that seems to cause the most distraction, as well as looking at a screen. Of course, using voice automation when driving would be the safer option, as was certainly the case with taking phone calls in the car a few years back, as legally you could talk on the phone hands free via Bluetooth, rather than with a phone to your ear. Android Auto offers the modern version of this, home automation in your car, hands free. You can tell it ‘I’m hot’, pre programming it to turn on the air con or turn down the heat. Usefully, (for those of us with direction based issues!) you’ll be able to talk to your map, without moving your eyes from the road or messing around pressing buttons. Loads of cars launching in Australia (yes!) over the next few years will have Android Auto, including the new electric Hyundai Kona planned for later this year. It’s a lot like using your home (or phone) assistant, just it now includes your car. And anything that helps us keep our attention on the sometimes dangerous Aussie roads has got to be a good thing!

Alice Towndrow
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