Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Working with Kakao on Hands-Free AI: Here's What It Does

Hyundai and Korean tech firm Kakao have signed a deal to put its hands-free AI systems in Hyundai vehicles.

Kakao has a similar deal with Hyundai’s sister brand, Kia.

In-Car AI

In-car AI isn’t the same as hands-free Bluetooth – it’s more like an automotive version of Apple’s AI voice assistant, Siri. In the Hyundai and Kia applications, which will be called Kakao I and we should see starting in September, the system will use voice recognition to help drivers find information on things like restaurants and gas stations. It will do so through a service called “One Shot.”

Kakao I also offers text-to-speech and other features. The company plans to open it up for third-party development, and Kakao I is unrelated to self-driving car efforts that the company is working on.

What It Does

In-car voice-recognition systems that can provide info on restaurants and the like aren’t new – Toyota’s EnTune is one of several competing offerings, and Hyundai’s BlueLink has offered similar features – but this partnership shows that there’s room for growth in this area.

It’s worth noting that it’s unclear if Kakao I will be available only in Korea, where Kakao already has a popular messaging app installed on most smartphones, or in other markets. BlueLink may remain the AI of choice for Hyundais and Kias here in the States.

Regardless, expect to see more virtual assistants in luxury and near-luxury vehicles over the coming years.

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