8hertz and Kirusa announce multimodal solutions for the Automobile Industry

(PresseBox) (Berlin, ) 8hertz, Germany's leading voice application developer, and Kirusa, the world’s leading provider of multimodal solutions, announced the availability of the world's first multimodal applications for the automobile industry. The multimodal applications have been developed by 8hertz, and use Kirusa’s multimodal core technology, including the Kirusa Multimodal Platform and Kirusa’s Multimodal Clients for smart phones. The companies further announced that the Multimodal Owner’s Manual application developed for Volkswagen has been awarded a top prize at the AutoMechanica trade fair.

The server-based, speech-driven multimodal services provide for simultaneous spoken and visual interfaces to access information of interest to car drivers. The first applications are currently being tested by major auto manufacturers, including Volkswagen.

The new Volkswagen Multimodal Owner’s Manual is the first of its kind and received industry-wide accolades at the worlds largest automobile trade fair, AutoMechanika (13 - 19 September, 2004), in Frankfurt, winning one of the four coveted Innovation Prizes at the fair. The application was developed for Volkswagen by the voice application company, 8hertz Technologies GmbH (8hertz).

Jackson Bond, CEO of 8hertz, added: “Without Kirusa’s multimodal technology, and the responsive Kirusa support team, the development of such a robust application would not have been possible in such a short time.”

The service allows drivers to keep their eyes focused on the road and hands on the steering wheel while asking even complex questions such as "How does the Automatic Distance Control work?" or "What does this air-bag light mean?" The requested information is then delivered both acoustically and visually through the driver's own mobile device, e.g. smart phone or mobile digital assistant (MDA), directly from the existing Volkswagen Owner’s Manual data located on a content server. Pictures from the manual are delivered simultaneously as a visual aid to accompany the description read aloud to the driver. In this way an accompanying passenger, or the driver when stopped, can compare the picture to the vehicle, to more quickly locate necessary functional elements.

A key feature of the multimodal applications is that the spoken input does not have to use the traditional mobile telephone GSM voice channel, but can use the data channel via GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, FLASH-OFDM®, or WLAN, now available on many mobile phones and devices. This allows the combination of voice and visual information exchange. Customers can thus use their existing mobile devices instead of retrofitting their car with new technology.

Current spoken human machine interface systems in cars include very limited on-board speech recognition for only a few hundred key words. By contrast, the more powerful server-based speech recognition over the mobile Internet can process several tens of thousands of words, including full sentences and synonyms. The technology also allows a “barge-in” feature so the user can randomly interrupt the system, thus providing more flexible navigation between any items of interest within a given set of services.

The server-based multimodal technology also brings several cost advantages. The car maker is much faster to market with new services in real-time, directly through existing customer devices, without costly, time-consuming changes to the technology in the car that can take several years. Manufacturers can also provide immediate updates to their customers, instead of sending out new software updates to individual automobiles.

“A multimodal interface provides immediate value to car drivers trying to access information while in or near a car.”, noted Ewald Anderl, CTO and Vice President of Kirusa. “When combined with the legal regulations and safety concerns, the resultant market opportunity for multimodal services in a car is enormous. We congratulate 8hertz for its innovative application development and Volkswagen on being awarded the Innovation Prize for the Multimodal Car Manual application.”

About Kirusa
Kirusa, Inc. is a multimodal solutions company that has developed industry leading multimodal technology (with several patents pending) for the delivery of applications using multimodal interfaces. This next generation of wireless technology allows users to customize the presentation of information on wireless devices by either alternating, or simultaneously receiving information through visual and voice interfaces. Kirusa develops the unique Kirusa Voice SMS multimodal application, and supports third party developers of multimodal applications. Kirusa's customers include the worlds' leading telecom carriers and enterprises. Kirusa is headquartered in Edison, New Jersey and was founded by telecom and Internet industry veterans from AT&T, Lucent and Vodafone Airtouch. For more information about Kirusa please call its headquarters at +1 (732) 623-2118 or visit www.kirusa.com.


8hertz Technologies GmbH
Rosenstr. 2
D-10178 Berlin
Jackson Bond
Leiter Marketing


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