Digital interactions extend to all aspects of our day-to-day lives: at home, during travel, at work, at play and during rest. We are continuously switching back and forth between the digital and the real world, and we are doing so at a progressively faster rate.
Simply downloading applications, viewing webpages and getting monotonous responses from our devices no longer satisfies our growing interest in deep interactions with the digital world. The beauty of artificial intelligence is that our digital interactions now provide us with services that are uniquely personalized to us.
One of the sectors I’ve observed tapping into this technology is the automotive industry, as our interface with the car is quickly changing from knobs and buttons to voice-driven interactions with AI assistants. Although not all brands have yet adopted AI, it’s a feature I’ve observed some consumers look for when deciding which vehicle to purchase. In fact, a whopping 67% of consumers believe personalization technology will improve the car-buying process, according to a study by Cox Automotive.
In our fast-paced and technologically inclined lives, we can depend on our virtual assistants for seemingly anything, whether we’re making calls, booking reservations or needing reminders of special occasions. Some companies, my own included, are even focusing on offering more personalized AI to enhance consumer interactions with the technology.
These possibilities might not be as far away as we think. Soon, I believe AI assistants will be able to recognize our emotions and converse with us accordingly through customized and personality-based responses. Instead of having a one-way and laborious interaction, these assistants might be able to interact with us as we move away from commands and toward conversations.
But before we reach a high level of personalization, there are a few best practices all tech leaders need to remember when designing AI for the automotive industry:
1. Prioritize consumer safety.
If drivers are distracted, feel sleepy or are simply multitasking while driving, ensure the car is able to recognize it and engage with them, whether by using an advanced method of proven psychological models to increase focus and alertness, or simply by employing simple tactics of engagement.
Beyond engaging drivers, AI assistants and self-driving cars should be prepared to take over the wheel in case of an unforeseen situation when the driver is no longer focused. Moreover, the quality and quantity of the datasets are of key focus to ensure that every single possible situation is accounted for, especially things that are out of the ordinary, to prevent crashes and fatalities. The best way to ensure safety is by building your own unique natural language processing micromodels.
2. Consider the long term more than the short term, and invest in research and development.
Even if considering the long-term requires more capital and risk, it will surely pay off in the future. I believe that the survival of the fittest among car brands is rooted in technological advancements. My advice to tech leaders is to pay attention to the future of brand differentiation. From my perspective, investing in research and development will be foundational to success.
3. Aim to be helpful, not a nuisance.
Moreover, there is a fine line between being helpful and cool and simply being annoying as consumers interact with AI assistants. It is imperative that focus is placed on truly understanding the user’s emotions and state of being. If, for example, a car misinterprets blinking with a person falling asleep at the wheel and beeps incessantly to alert the driver, then that car has instantly transformed from being a helpful addition to being a nuisance. These are the small details that make a massive impact on the consumer experience.
In summary, AI can be an incredible asset if used accordingly. By evaluating the mood and responses of drivers or passengers, in-car experiences can be taken to the next level. I believe the creation of distinctive services by automakers in the era of self-driving automobiles is becoming increasingly imperative. Reestablishing brand loyalty could be achieved by the unique experience provided by the AI assistant in every vehicle, but first and foremost, we must prioritize safety, research and helping consumers.