Continental is working on a virtual travel assistant that will make driving a lot more enjoyable. The eTravel.Companion is an intelligent technology that acts as an interactive radio station for vehicle users.
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Effective and discreet travel assistant
Whether it’s suggestions for free parking spots or low-cost gas stations, alerts about tire pressure loss or upcoming severe weather, individual sports news, or cultural event suggestions, the eTravel.Companion speaks up proactively, but only when necessary, and assists drivers in making their trip as enjoyable as possible.
The revolutionary technology‘s unique characteristic is that the eTravel.Companion is connected to the smartphone and therefore to the user, rather than to a particular vehicle. This implies that all service advantages may be utilized in various cars, which is a huge benefit when carpooling or renting a car.
The technology is continuously learning and can provide personally customized assistance for various aspects of travel thanks to artificially intelligent algorithms. Another first: the voice-activated eTravel.Companion starts all communications – but only if it adds actual value to a pleasant journey.
In practice, this could look something like this: while the navigation device leads the vehicle to its destination, the music from a playlist saved on the smartphone plays in the car. “Sorry for interrupting you, but all parking spots at the location are filled,” the eTravel.Companion says momentarily as the music fades off. “Should I take a different route to a neighboring parking structure? Your contract operator also has a free e-scooter accessible, which you may use to reach your location in three minutes.“
Incorporating all useful information
Continental’s new technology has a significant benefit: eTravel.Companion is a cloud-based system with a lot of flexibility. This implies that individual mobility assistants from vehicle manufacturers, car sharing, and rental car providers, such as parking, traffic flow, and charging station applications, may be easily incorporated.
Continental‘s eTravel.Companion gathers all necessary information and makes it accessible to the customer through voice help and web radio. In theory, the new eTravel.Companion functions as an all-connecting matrix, allowing for a fresh, more appealing, and stress-free connection between vehicle and driver.
Intelligent, interactive, and connected
The driver’s connection with his vehicle becomes even more natural and easy owing to eTravel.Companion. Because this is crucial: the amount of data flowing into the vehicle is steadily growing. Drivers are increasingly faced with information from entertainment systems or signals from cockpit equipment.
A broad range of support apps, mobility apps, and service systems are also available. Intelligent solutions for drivers‘ interactions with their vehicles are in high demand, especially for the administration, processing, and, not least, the seamless supply of data from a variety of sources.
Dr. Karsten Michels, Head of Advanced Research & Engineering at Continental explains: “One of the biggest challenges in the automotive industry today is to develop intelligent concepts for human-machine interfaces. Solutions that enhance the driving experience and allow drivers to interact with their vehicles easily and effectively – without distracting them from the traffic. Cloud-based service technologies are the key to natural and safe communication in the vehicle, and beyond. With the new eTravel.Companion, we are taking this crucial step further: we are coupling the assistant with the user’s smartphone, not only with the vehicle. This means that all the benefits can also be used independently of a specific vehicle.”
Integration and future evolution
This has the benefit of allowing the eTravel.Companion to be incorporated into current vehicle manufacturer infotainment solutions or mobility service provider application offerings. For example, the system allows automakers to set themselves apart from the competitors by offering vehicle features other than design, engine performance, or battery range.
Intelligent application solutions have a lot of potential as a tool for consumer loyalty and brand identification. In the future, such new realms of experience in the car will be a key difference. The technology is presently being field-tested by a major automobile manufacturer and will be ready for usage and manufacturing in the near future.