On Friday Apple acquired a UK-based Cambridge start-up whose artificial-intelligence software helps computers and people speak to each other in a more natural way.
Its technology could help Apple to improve Siri, its virtual assistant, as well as further the iPhone maker’s automotive ambitions.
While VocalIQ’s speech processing and machine learning technology could be incorporated into devices from wearables to the connected home, the company was particularly focused on in-car applications. This included a collaboration with General Motors.General Motors Co [GM] .GM is working with the UK based software maker to develop an advanced voice-control system for vehicles that would allow spoken commands to access navigation and entertainment systems and accessories.
Apple has also recently aquired US based ,Mapsense ,which will help it with the enormous API bigdata generated in autonomous vehicle transportation.[see below]
The work is being overseen by GM's Advanced Technical Center in Israel, which focuses on research and development of autonomous vehicles, robotics, and human-machine interface.
In the VocalIQ blog it described how a “conversational voice-dialog system” in a car’s navigation system could prevent drivers from becoming distracted by looking at screens. Its “self-learning” technology allows “real conversation between human and the internet of things”, VocalIQ wrote.
This would improve on virtual assistants such Siri :
which rely on scripted interactions and can respond only to particular commands.
In another blog, VocalIQ said existing assistants have fallen “well short of consumer expectations”, singling out Siri as a mere “toy”.
VocalIQ, is the University of Cambridge’s Dialogue Systems Group, uses deep learning to improve language recognition, with a focus on trying to understand the context in which commands are given.
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“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” Apple said in a statement confirming the deal.
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