Rather a talking than a self driving car?


In the early Eighties of the last century my father came home with his new company car, a Renault R 25. What really intrigued us at the time (some forty years ago) about that car was the fact that it could…. … speak. Well, that’s to say that a metallic woman’s voice answered commands of your own voice. And now? Today, recent research (*) shows that in the next three years almost every driver (95%) will use a voice assistant intensively.


The report “Voice on the go: how can auto manufacturers provide a superior in-car voice experience” provides more interesting figures. Today, about half of the drivers use a voice assistant for all types of activities: calling up and playing music (77%), making appointments for servicing (46%), ordering meals or making reservations (45%). The report expects us to very soon talk increasingly more with our car, and the car actually becoming a driving voice assistant we will spend a lot of time with (given the traffic jams).

When you ask drivers how satisfied they are with their voice assistant, only 28% are really enthusiastic about it. 59% think that the voice assistant is just about right, and that the experience and ease of use can be seriously improved. So here’s a job for the car manufacturers. Users are also concerned about the privacy and security of their voice assistant. 50% of drivers do not entrust personal data to the voice assistant, and 48% even find it too intrusive or looking for too many details. This will probably not be much different from voice assistants outside the car. In China, experiments are already underway where families are testing voice assistants to control their whole home, including TV and domotics. There too, most of the complaints concern the confidentiality of the information shared with the voice assistant.

The major challenge in terms of voice assistants for the car manufacturers is therefore double: better customer experience and secure environment. According to the study, anyone who invests in this can expect an increase in turnover from their car sales. After all, 73% of drivers who claim to have a superior experience with their voice controlled driving tell those around them, and even recommend it. There is no better publicity than word-of-mouth advertising. In addition, drivers are willing to pay more for an improved voice assistant, young drivers in particular (47% of drivers between 22 and 31 years old).

Still, the large car manufacturers are not fully in tune with the consumers yet. The majority (72%) of decision-makers at these car manufacturers understand that a smooth in-car voice assistant can contribute to improved overall customer satisfaction, and 81% believe that they understand the customer’s needs in terms of voice assistants. Consumers don’t see it that way: they think (65%) that car manufacturers overestimate this and that voice assistants can still be greatly improved by making them more interactive and intuitive. Car manufacturers are therefore putting a lot of effort into AI and working with computer companies to be able to quickly improve the voice assistants.

Do you talk a lot with your car? Not really? Prepare yourself for a long conversation with your driving voice assistant. He or she (as the case may be) will serve you better and better. The speaking car is closer than the self-driving car. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

*A study by the Capgemini Research Institute with 7000 consumers and 300 decision-makers from car manufacturers.

Kris Poté, vice president, Capgemini, 28/11/2019.