Continental is developing The eTravel.Companion, a virtual travel assistant that makes driving much more comfortable.
eTravel Companion: The Virtual Co-Pilot
The eTravel.Companion is an intelligent system that informs the car user like an interactive radio station. Whether it’s recommendations for free parking spaces or cheap gas stations, warnings about tyre pressure loss or impending severe weather, individual sports news or tips for cultural events – the eTravel.Companion speaks up proactively and helps drivers make their trip as pleasant as possible. The eTravel.Companion is linked to the smartphone and thus to the user, not to a single automobile. This means that all service benefits can also be used in different vehicles. The system is constantly learning and can offer individually tailored support for many facets of travel. The voice-based eTravel.Companion initiates every communication itself – and only if it offers real added value for a smooth trip.
Continental’s new technology, eTravel.Companion is a flexible cloud-based application. This means that the individual mobility assistants of car manufacturers or car sharing and rental car providers – parking, traffic flow, charging station apps and many more – can be seamlessly integrated. Continental’s eTravel.Companion accesses all relevant data and makes it available to the end user via voice assistance and web radio function. It works like an all-connecting matrix, enabling a new, particularly attractive and stress-free interaction between vehicle and driver.
The driver’s interaction with his car becomes even more intuitive and convenient. The flow of information into the car is constantly increasing. Drivers are confronted with more and more indications from the cockpit instruments or information from the infotainment systems. Added to this are a wide variety of assistance apps, mobility applications and service systems. Intelligent solutions for the interaction of drivers with their cars are therefore particularly in demand.
The eTravel.Companion is an evolutionary step in the design of human-machine interfaces, of HMI solutions. These human-machine interfaces determine how drivers and vehicles communicate. “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,” says Dr. Karsten Michels, Head of Advanced Research & Engineering at Continental.
This brings the advantage that the eTravel.Companion can be integrated into existing infotainment systems from car manufacturers or application offerings from mobility service providers.the system gives car manufacturers the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition through vehicle advantages other than design, engine performance or battery range. Intelligent application solutions also offer great opportunities as a tool for customer loyalty, for identification with a brand. The technology is currently undergoing intensive field testing with a major automotive company and will be ready for use and production in the near future.