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Voice assistants are no longer confined just to smart speakers and smartphones but are rapidly making their way into our everyday things, including cars.

In fact, a surprising report by Voicebot has confirmed that in-car voice assistant use is higher than that of smart speakers. It has been reported that nearly twice as many adults in the US have used voice assistants in the car (114 million), compared to through a smart speaker at 57.8 million. 

According to a new study published by Juniper Research, a staggering 8 billion digital voice assistants are forecasted to be in use by 2023. As the demand for voice assistants increases, it is clear that the car is the next major category for growth. 

In the past, voice control in the car predominantly focused on tasks like supporting navigation and setting up phone calls. However, as technology has developed, voice assistants can now perform a far greater number of functions for communicating, questions, and entertainment. 

When a person’s hands and eyes are occupied with the task of driving, having a hands-free alternative to interact with, acts as a great convenience and can ensure a smoother, safer driving experience. Within this article, we discuss what voice assistants are, how to add voice control to your car, and what uses they have. 

What are voice assistants? 

A voice assistant is a digital assistant that uses voice cognition, natural language processing, and speech synthesis to provide support to users through a certain application. 

Voice assistants are utilised to perform a variety of tasks after hearing a wake or command. They can help to answer questions, turn on lights, play music,  and even give directions. 

Popular voice assistants include Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Bixby by Samsung, and the Google Assistant.

How do I add voice control into my car? 

Typically, there are three ways that voice assistant providers are employing to get voice assistants inside your car: 

  • By installing voice assistants into cars’ infotainment systems: For instance, Amazon has confirmed to agreeing to work with HERE Technologies to build Alexa functionality directly into the companies in-car navigation system.

  • By manufacturing their own devices: So far, only Amazon has made their own device directed towards use in the car, known as the Echo Auto. Perhaps this will move will encourage other voice assistant providers like Google and Apple to bring out their own car-focused devices in the near future.
  • Through third-party hardware manufacturers: Third-party manufacturers are building devices for the car that can support voice assistants. The Link Drive by JBL and Anker’s Roav Viva Car Charger are accessories that have been built specifically for the car which can support voice control.

If you do not own a car that has embedded connectivity, the easiest way to add voice control would be to use a device which supports one or more of these providers. We recommend the Anker ROAV Viva 2.4A 2 Port USB Car Charger. Anker’s ROAV Viva brings Amazon’s advanced voice service, Alexa, into any vehicle, so you can get directions, play music, and initiate calls from this compact device, all whilst charging your smartphone.

Anker Roav VIVA Car Charger in car | Photo: Review Geek

Anker Roav VIVA Car Charger in-car | Photo: Review Geek

What can I do with an in-car voice assistant? 

When it comes to using an in-car voice assistant you might be wondering what it can do or why you might need one. To help you out, we have picked the best 8 uses for in-car voice assistants, check them out below:

  • Make phone calls: Mobile phones are a constant in most of our lives.  But texting, calling, or doing anything else with them in your car is definitely something which shouldn’t happen. Since the law was implemented in 2003, it is now illegal to hold a phone while driving a vehicle and if you want to use it, you must have hands-free access. Using a mobile phone while driving now carries a penalty and hefty fine. On top of that, statistics released by the DVSA show that in 2017, there was a total of 33 fatalities in accidents caused by a driver using a mobile phone. You can now use a voice assistant to make a phone call for you, without you having to physically open or touch your device – ensuring you stay safe on the road.
  • Get directions: Use simple voice commands to help you find your way on the roads. Gone are the days of having to keep a map in your glove compartment. Simply verbalise your need to get from point A to point B and the voice assistant will give you directions or navigations to your location.
  • Play music: Fancy jamming out to your favourite tunes with your kids on your way to the airport? Using an in-car voice assistant, you will be able to simply use your voice to play any song or playlist without having to take your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road at any time.
  • Send text messages: Perhaps your wife has tried to call you whilst you are driving, just say “Alexa, send a text message to [your contacts name].” Alexa will then ask you want to say and will send the message on.

    “On my way”, “Sorry, I can’t talk right now, I’m driving”, or “What’s the address?”, are all examples of things you can ask your voice assistant to send for you.

  • Ask for recommendations: Whether you are trying to find a local restaurant or the closest petrol station, you can use voice search to get recommendations for when you are driving. Simple queries like “Find me the nearest petrol station”, will make your journey easier and more convenient.
  • Check upcoming traffic: Voice assistants in the car can help you with your commute to and from work. They can update you on things like the traffic so you can find the quickest route to your destination and stay aware of any upcoming traffic jams. This can be extremely useful if you use the motorways to travel to work.
  • Open your garage door and turn on the lights at home: About to arrive back home and need to open your garage door? If you have installed a smart garage door opener you can manipulate it to open or close all via your in-car voice assistant. You can even use your voice assistant to turn on the lights at home. Perhaps you’ve left the house and forgot to close the garage door? No need to worry, just ask “Alexa, close the garage door”.
  • Join the 9 am conference call: Stuck in traffic on your way to work and running late for an important conference call? A voice assistant will enable you to join the call from the comfort of your car and ensure you don’t miss out on anything important.

Now that you are aware of the use of voice assistants in the car, why not get your hands on your own Alexa enabled car charger to enhance your driving experience? 

Helen Durkin

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