Voice Recognition is the #1 Problem for New Car Buyers

Vir­tu­al­ly all new vehi­cles rely on voice recog­ni­tion to help oper­ate the increas­ing num­ber of high-tech fea­tures. The prob­lem is that voice recog­ni­tion sys­tems often fail. A com­mand to change the radio chan­nel is mis­in­ter­pret­ed and the nav­i­ga­tion screen is sud­den­ly flood­ed with icons for gas sta­tions and restau­rants. After repeat­ed­ly strug­gling to find an address on the main street in a major city, a motorist gives up and plugs the infor­ma­tion into their smart­phone.

The new J.D. Pow­er 2014 Mul­ti­me­dia Qual­i­ty and Sat­is­fac­tion Study reports that voice recog­ni­tion has become the sin­gle largest source of com­plaints about new vehi­cles. Prob­lems pair­ing smart­phones to a vehicle’s Blue­tooth sys­tem is the sec­ond most com­mon prob­lem

Voice recog­ni­tion and device con­nec­tiv­i­ty are often inher­ent to the tech­nol­o­gy design and can­not be fixed at the deal­er­ship, cre­at­ing a high lev­el of angst among new-vehi­cle own­ers,” said Mike Van­Nieuwkuyk, exec­u­tive direc­tor of glob­al auto­mo­tive at J.D. Pow­er.

The biggest prob­lems:
• The sys­tem didn’t rec­og­nize or mis­in­ter­pret­ed ver­bal com­mands, cit­ed by 63%;
• The sys­tem didn’t rec­og­nize or mis­in­ter­pret­ed names and words, cit­ed by 44%;
• The sys­tem didn’t rec­og­nize or mis­in­ter­pret­ed num­bers, cit­ed by 31%.

Voice recog­ni­tion has become increas­ing­ly impor­tant because of all the fea­tures automak­ers are pack­ing into their vehi­cles. In many cas­es, motorists can only use voice pro­gram­ming when the vehi­cle is mov­ing. Car­mak­ers typ­i­cal­ly lock out their touch­screens to pre­vent dis­tract­ed dri­ving while dri­ving, allow­ing a motorist only to use voice com­mands to add a new des­ti­na­tion.

Despite the com­plaints, how­ev­er, a full 70% of new car buy­ers still say they want a car that can be pro­grammed by voice. The chal­lenge, the study makes clear, is to come up with sys­tems that actu­al­ly do what they’re sup­posed to. That’s some­thing man­u­fac­tur­ers say they’re work­ing on, but admit it can be dif­fi­cult to deal with all the dif­fer­ent accents that can be faced, even with Eng­lish speak­ers. Few expect the prob­lems to be resolved any time soon.

Down­load the J.D. Pow­er 2014 Mul­ti­me­dia Qual­i­ty and Sat­is­fac­tion Study

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