More than three decades after TV show ‘Knight Rider’ first popularized the idea of people being able to remotely control their cars using a voice command to their watches, Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has teamed up with US software giant Microsoft to make this old technology fantasy a reality.
In that incident long time ago on Knight Rider, David Hasselhoff’s character Michael Knight was able to contact and control his high-tech car, KITT, by talking into his state-of-the-art watch. From now on, Volvo owners will be able to do the same using a Microsoft Band 2 wristband. Some of the tasks that you will be able to instruct your car to perform include setting the satnav, locking doors, as well as turning on the car heater.
The new advanced system is powered by Volvo’s On Call app, which currently already allows its users to do these things through their smartphones, albeit without the voice control part.
Volvo and Microsoft -- who have announced that they are going to collaborate in a future venture to create self-driving automobiles and develop them in such a way that people will be able to work on the move -- have also worked together in the past. For instance, in 2015 the two companies demonstrated how the HoloLens augmented reality headset built by Microsoft can be used to enhance the car-purchase experience in the future.
Thomas Müller, Volvo’s vice president in charge of electrics and e-propulsion, says that this is just the beginning of what his company’s partnership with Microsoft hopes to achieve. According to him, they are intending to make the car experience even better and more convenient by taking advantage of the latest technical advancements in digital assistant functionalities, including but not limited to voice command.
Microsoft’s executive vice president in charge of business development Peggy Johnson reiterates Müller’s words by adding that her company’s current collaboration with Volvo will continue to engage in further research into revolutionary technological solutions to enhance the automotive experience even further.
Despite these successes by both Volvo and Microsoft however, the ability to summon your car using a watch is still yet to be actualized. So far, BMW has shown the most advancement in this technology. The German carmaker showcased a prototype version of such a remote command system in 2015, promising to be able to have such a technology ready for implementation in cars by the year 2020.
For Volvo owners, the company promises that you will be able to speak to your car using your Microsoft Band 2 as soon as spring of this year.
Image source: flickr.com