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Integrating voice into delivery vehicles


Integrating voice into delivery vehicles

Ian Kerr

Will we soon see voice control in commercial vehicles?

Growing numbers of passenger vehicles have voice-activated command built in.

“The ultimate goal is to help customers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road while still being entertained and productive while on the go.” - Kerry Lebel, Principal, Head of Marketing for Alexa Auto

Audi has integrated with Amazon’s Alexa. Drivers will be able to use voice control to play music, access weather forecasts, and yes, shop from Amazon.

Ford owners will soon be able to use voice commands to order pizza from Domino’s hands-free while driving their car. Sure, you could call your local pizzeria and order by talking to a real person, but I digress…

Other manufacturers are using voice command to merely control the car’s features.

So what about the delivery sector? It’s not hard to imagine how voice commands and interaction could become part of the last mile - and when combined with autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles the possibilities are tempting.

After completing a delivery, the driver gets into the van and says, “Take me to the next drop.” In an autonomous car, the car does all the work getting to the next drop.

For a human-controlled car, the voice prompt could tell the driver where their next stop is, how to get there, and the kind of parcel to look for. “Your next stop is 111 High Street. There is a parking spot available outside 107 High Street. The parcel is for Mrs Smith. It is a small Amazon box.”

Responsiveness is critical. Delivery drivers are always racing against the clock, so delays waiting for a response will impact on the number of drops the driver can do per hour.

There would be advantages for delivery runs where the driver is new to the sector or is unfamiliar with the local streets.

So while voice activated control might be almost a gimmick in passenger cars, it may have a commercial application in the delivery sector. Speed and accuracy will be critical - as will price.

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