Billed as the ‘Alexa for Automobiles’, and called somewhat bizarrely Chris (the same name as the author of this post), here’s a device that claims to prevent drivers from becoming distracted by their mobile phones while driving.
With mobile phone use during driving seemingly reaching epidemic proportions, despite dramatic increases in fines and penalty points, Chris is, claims the manufacturer, the world’s first digital assistant for drivers.
Developed by German Autolabs, a Berlin based technology startup, the device will be launched at this year’s IFA Show in Berlin (August 30th – September 5th) at a price of £299.
Designed to integrate with any car on the road – regardless of the age or model – Chris offers entertainment, connectivity, and navigation capabilities for drivers. Simply attach Chris to your windscreen or dashboard and connect it with your smartphone (iOS or Android) via Bluetooth.
Features include enabling drivers to receive and reply to texts and WhatsApp messages, listening to music from their phone, following navigation instructions, and making and receiving phone calls using an intelligent speech and hand gesture recognition technology on a glanceable full-colour screen display.
Additionally, unlike other emerging voice assistants such as Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant or Alexa, Chris is specifically designed for drivers.
The manufacturer claims it offers a more human-centric user experience that proactively communicates with the driver. It also works offline even when there is no mobile signal and allows users to maintain access to their digital lives.
When a WhatsApp or text message comes in, Chris will read it out, listen to your reply and send it accordingly. No more secretive typing at traffic lights or peeking at the phone – you can actually put it away and still be connected!
Chris is powered by advanced Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing technologies in order to feel like you’re driving with a human co-driver, claims German Autolabs.
Says Holger G. Weiss, CEO of German Autolabs:
“In this age of digital dependency, despite the harsh penalties and safety risks they face, a significant number of drivers persist in using mobile phones when driving. Chris offers drivers a safe, legal, hands free alternative.
“Through the combination of voice, hand gestures and the display, it is easy to use and reliably does what you want it to do. Chris makes your drive smarter and safer by keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.”
You can view a YouTube video of Chris in action below: