Big Rigs, Bikes Offer Growing Market for Voice

A growing number of manufacturers are adding voice assistants and other connected services to heavy trucks and two-wheeled vehicles. Cerence, a provider of conversational artificial intelligence (AI) products and technology, announced May 10 that this trend contributed to its 53% growth in bookings during the six months ended March 31, compared to the same period the previous year. “Our continued success in accounts and markets is due to our strong competitive position in the automotive industry and our ability to reach beyond traditional automotive markets,” Cerence CEO Stefan Ortmanns said Tuesday (May 10) during the company’s quarterly earnings call.

During that six-month period, Cerence added an important European heavy truck win, bringing the total in that segment to four, and added four new two-wheeler accounts, bringing that total to six. These joined the company’s existing core automotive business. Transforming the Two-Wheeler Experience 

The Cerence 2-Wheeler Mobility Platform, which incorporates the Cerence Drive product, enables OEMs to add intelligent voice assistants to motorcycles, mopeds, e-bikes, scooters and other two-wheelers. This two-wheeled vehicle product’s connected technology works with the rider’s smartphone to control navigation, music, media, local settings and smart home devices. This allows riders to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

“Our Cerence Drive product continues to attract new two-wheeler customers,” Ortmanns said. “This offering combines our core AI innovation with new capabilities such as a group ride function, transforming the two-wheeler experience as ridership grows worldwide.” The two-wheeler program was launched 18 months ago and has been especially popular in the Asia Pacific region. Cerence reported that its new customers include some of the top manufacturers in the segment.

The two-wheeler market is a large one with 50 million to 60 million units being produced each year. Meeting Shifting User Expectations  Announcing growth in another one of Cerence’s newer markets, Ortmanns said the company had gained a contract with its fourth customer in the heavy trucking space.

“Another prime example of our expansion is our growing success in trucking,” Ortmanns said. “A major European heavy truck supplier recently signed on for our Cerence Assistant offering.” In a presentation released in conjunction with the earnings call, Cerence reported that the growing demand is being driven by shifting user expectations, with digitally enabled consumers expecting significant changes in products, services and how original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) engage with them. This has led OEMs to adopt digital infotainment that’s on the level of consumer tech, and has contributed to the rise of digital business models.

Together with expanding the range of vehicles on which its products are installed, Cerence is also adding more and more applications per unit. These include karaoke, browse, co-pilot and the Cerence Assistant. As a result, the company reported 10% growth in billings per car.

“The more we can add on, of course, then we are going to increase also the unit price,” Ortmanns said. “And, on the connected side, we are adding more and more new applications to it.”

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