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Stop shouting orders at your dashboard with Bosch’s new in-car voice assistant

Motorists often get distracted by the enormous amount of tech features baked into today’s cars. Driving used to involve turning the steering wheel, operating the pedals, and picking a radio station. Today, drivers also navigate the infotainment system, ask for directions, and reply to emails, among other tasks. Bosch wants to end distracted driving by launching a state-of-the-art in-car voice assistant.

“When drivers get into a modern car, they can sometimes feel like an airplane pilot — buttons, screens, a confusing menu navigation with a thousand sub-menus. Bosch is putting an end to the button chaos in the cockpit. Instead, we turned the voice assistant into a passenger,” Bosch board member Dirk Hoheisel said in a statement.

The voice assistant responds to the name Casey at first but users can rechristen it as they please. And while the idea of an in-car voice assistant isn’t new, Bosch promises the technology it will introduce during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is ahead of what is currently on the market because it understands every single word the user speaks.

Casey also understands natural sentence structures. You can say, “Casey, I’d like to send my mom a text message” instead of barking “text mom.” It even takes into account dialects and different accents and understands requests regardless of whether they’re spoken by an American, an Australian, or a Brit.

It speaks 30 different languages — all at the same time. Users can dictate an address in French right before sending a text message in English without tweaking the system’s settings. Bosch points out its engineers spent over a decade fine-tuning the voice assistant.

Available even offline, Casey learns and thinks. Bosch gives a neat example: Imagine you have two contacts named Paul. One is your co-worker and the other is your best friend. If you say “I’d like to call Paul,” it will automatically check the time and your current location. If it’s 7 a.m. and you’re on your way to work, the assistant will ask whether you want to call Paul from the office. If it’s 8 p.m. and you’re downtown, it will assume you’re looking for a drinking buddy and ask if you want to call your friend Paul.

There’s no word yet on when Bosch’s new voice assistant will reach the market or which car(s) will inaugurate it. We reached out to the company for clarification and we’ll update this story as soon as we hear back.

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