Voice recognition to replace texting while driving

27th June 2018
Lanna Cooper


With mobile phone use whilst driving at epidemic proportions, dramatic increases in fines and penalty points and even the risk of newly qualified drivers losing their licenses, the launch of Chris, the world’s first digital assistant for drivers is long overdue. 

For drivers who find it impossible to cut themselves off for the digital world, can’t resist checking a text when it pops in or making a surreptitious phone call, Chris will be like manna from heaven. 

German Autolabs, a Berlin based technology startup, developing smart solutions to make driving more pleasant, convenient and human, will be launching Chris at IFA Berlin 2018 (30th August - 5th September) RRP £299. 

Dubbed the 'Alexa for Automotive', Chris is a device that will integrate with any car on the road - regardless of the age or model. Chris offers entertainment, connectivity, and navigation capabilities for drivers that is more convenient and proactive than other market offerings.

Drivers can simply attach Chris to their windscreen or dashboard and connect it with their smartphone via Bluetooth, both iOS and Android available. It will enable drivers to receive and reply to texts and WhatsApp messages, listen to music from their phone, follow navigation instructions, and make and receive phone calls using an intelligent speech and hand gesture recognition technology on a glanceable full-colour screen display.

Additionally, unlike other emerging voice assistants such as Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant or Alexa, Chris is specifically designed for drivers. It will offer a more human-centric user experience that proactively communicates with the driver. It works offline even when there is no mobile signal and allows users to maintain access to their digital lives.

If a WhatsApp or text message comes in Chris will read it out, listen to your reply and send it accordingly. No more secretive typing at traffic lights or peeks at the phone - you can actually put it away and still be connected. Chris is powered by advanced Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing technologies that make you feel like you’re driving with a human co-driver, delivering information to you when you need it most.

Since the introduction on 1st March of new, harsher UK laws, in a recent survey conducted by the RAC while 89% of the 1,727 drivers asked said they were aware of the law change, more than a quarter (26%) of those who knew of the tougher penalties admitted to regularly using their devices behind the wheel. If these results were duplicated across the 40 million UK drivers, it could mean at least 9.2 million motorists are habitually breaking the law.

Holger G. Weiss, CEO of German Autolabs, commented: "In this age of digital dependency, despite the harsh penalties and safety risks they face, a significant number of drivers persist in using mobile phones when driving. Chris offers drivers a safe, legal, hands free alternative. Through the combination of voice, hand gestures and the display, it is easy to use and reliably does what you want it to do. Chris makes your drive smarter and safer by keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road."

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