Philipp Popov, CEO and Ahmer Khan, Director, Product
The global automotive infotainment market is growing rapidly, driven by digitalization, modern lifestyle, and the proliferation of hyperconnected communities. Nevertheless, virtually all of the existing systems force drivers to take their eyes off the road and look at the head unit to make decisions—a critical design flaw. With driver distraction accounting for thousands of deaths and injuries in the U.S., a small Silicon Valley startup, CloudCar, is spearheading paradigm-changing technological innovation to make driving a rich, connected experience without compromising on driver safety. By designing simplified, driver-centric user interfaces (UI) and adopting a fundamentally unique approach of focusing on content and not apps, CloudCar is taking on the big 800 pound gorillas like Apple and Google to redefine the driver experience. “At CloudCar, we know that tackling driver distraction is one of our primary tasks since the complexities of connected services will only continue to grow as new providers are added over time,” states Ahmer Khan, Director of Product, CloudCar.
CloudCar’s platform leverages cloud-based, machine learning technologies to create an intuitive in-car infotainment experience. With a “voice first” interface, CloudCar enables users to interact with a vehicle’s infotainment system without touching or looking at the device. “All they have to do is simply ask,” states Khan. When a user requests certain information, CloudCar gathers data from multiple vendors and provides users with appropriate, aggregated content, eliminating the need to manually open different apps and navigate through them. This significantly reduces distractions and ensures a safer driving experience by facilitating a simple means of addressing, confirming, and executing queries.
On top of that, machine learning and artificial intelligence allows CloudCar to both recommend and suggest new, relevant choices of everything from music to alternative routes. The CloudCar platform not only impacts driver behavior but also optimizes an original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM’s) brand identity and creates opportunities for monetization. The platform also provides insights to OEMs through data analytics with which they can learn about the specifics of driver behaviors to spur both marketing and design decisions. Coupled with the CloudCar SDK, the platform allows OEMs to customize the UI to match their branding guidelines and preferences. In tandem, CloudCar also provides design guidance and even design development to assist OEMs in delivering better user experiences while maintaining OEM-specific “look and feel.”
Signifying a huge step in developing connected car technology, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has invested significantly in CloudCar. “This investment is integral to Jaguar Land Rover’s vehicle technology program: but the program also presents an invaluable opportunity for other automotive manufacturers to get involved. The eventual need to integrate into the car hundreds of driver-focused global cloud services and content means this platform is an excellent example where cooperation between OEMs can improve outcomes for customers, as well as reduce costs,” asserts Hanno Kirner, Executive Director of Corporate Strategy, JLR.
Today, the reality is that we spend a significant portion of our time in the car. In fact, according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average person spends over 300 hours a year behind the wheel. That is a lot of time to be unproductive while being stuck in the car. The solution CloudCar has built using existing and newly developed technologies and leverages the cloud so the vehicle becomes a place where one can be productive, have access to the most popular media from around the world, communicate, reserve a parking spot, purchase food, and the list goes on. “With our machine learning back end, we create an intuitive and predictive virtual assistant, but the key is to offer this environment in the safest and least distracting way possible.” says Philipp Popov, CEO of CloudCar. “Let’s face it, so much of our lives are in the car, our platform can provide a productive and immersive experience while driving safely... and that is a game changer.”