Nuance Communications has announced a new AI research center that will focus on smart and autonomous car technologies. Dubbed the Design, Research, Innovation and Vehicle Experience Lab, or the DRIVE Lab, it will be based in the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (“DFKI”) in Saarbrücken.
Work at the new lab will complement research in DRIVE Labs in North America and China, and will place a strong focus on new user experience technologies based on things like facial and voice recognition, emotion analysis, gaze tracking, and gesture-based interactions. DRIVE Lab researchers will also consult car makers and automotive component suppliers in the development of these and other technologies.
In a statement announcing the new DRIVE Lab, Nuance Automotive Innovation Management director Nils Lenke explained, “As the digital car is becoming an integral element of our day-to-day lives and smart virtual assistants are becoming ever more prevalent, it’s important that we put a strategic focus on UX research to provide a truly immersive mobility assistant that users can trust.”
The DRIVE Lab’s signals Nuance’s growing interest in AI-driven automotive technologies, with the company having announced in September a partnership with the major Korean telecom KT to develop a virtual assistant designed specifically for smart cars in Korea. The news also comes after the Nuance’s announcement earlier this month that it was selling off its Document Imaging division so that it could focus on its AI and cloud activities.