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Business

Honda, SoftBank to develop AI assistant for drivers

Connected cars, such as Honda's new Accord, are equipped with a variety of systems to help drivers.

TOKYO -- Honda Motor and SoftBank will co-develop a system that uses artificial intelligence to talk with drivers and offer information and recommendations tailored to their tastes.

Cloud-based AI software will learn drivers' habits and predict their actions based on input from cameras and conversation, including expression and tone of voice. It will be able to speak and understand dialects and recommend stores on frequently traveled roads.

The Japanese companies aim to make the system a personal assistant of sorts. By analyzing data on a car's location, speed, distance traveled and braking, it could anticipate problems and then automatically schedule inspections at dealerships. It could also lock the vehicle remotely or alert drivers that they have locked their keys inside.

Connected cars are expected to make up a majority of passenger vehicles in 2030, with a projected 700 million on the road. Automakers and telecommunications companies are increasingly partnering to exploit the masses of data collected by cars. Honda will tap SoftBank technology that can learn human expressions and hold conversations, while the SoftBank Group unit hopes to use the tie-up to expand its auto-related business.

(Nikkei)

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