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New Audi TT's Virtual Cockpit enables intuitive user interactions with intelligent voice and natural language understanding technologies

The bond between man and machine is about to get personal. Elektrobit (EB) and Nuance unveiled today at Paris Motor Show the integration of voice and natural language understanding (NLU) technology as part of the Virtual Cockpit in the new Audi TT Roadster. As a result, drivers are able to engage in a more natural, conversational dialogue with Audi’s infotainment and navigation capabilities, the same way they would talk to their friend. With intuitive voice commands, drivers and passengers can control system menu, phone, tuner, media and navigation features through everyday speech, without having to stick to defined commands.

The new TT is the first Audi model to feature NLU as part of a fully speech-enabled infotainment system powered by Nuance’s Dragon Drive connected car platform. Drivers and passengers will be able to experience an even more consistent, natural speech dialogue with incredibly accurate speech recognition and text-to-speech that has been optimized for the automotive environment. The result is a smarter, safer in-car experience that allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road, and hands on the wheel. 

“Natural language understanding is an integral part of Audi’s revolutionary Virtual Cockpit concept, and makes the in-car experience as intuitive as the driving dynamics,” said Markus Schupfner, Vice President Operations, at EB’s Automotive Business Segment. “The Virtual Cockpit is a milestone for HMI development and sets the stage for a new industry standard.”

EB has integrated this industry-leading voice technology into the application developer ecosystem, ensuring smooth communication with applications like navigation, phone, organizer and other systems. GmbH, a jointly owned company of EB and Audi, took over the integration of the application portfolio into the overall HMI system and created a seamless user experience. Both EB and worked with EB’s leading integrated HMI software platform EB GUIDE.

The NLU system is embedded in Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, a new HMI concept that enables easier and more intuitive user interaction. It lets people control and interact with applications and services like navigation, phone and email as well as multimedia content through natural speech. Speech dialog systems without NLU lead the user through a long dialog of questions and answers, and required the user to stick to specific words and phrases.  

Now with NLU the infotainment system understands the sense of naturally spoken sentences like “Where is the next gas station on our way?” or “Could you please find the nearest restaurant?” Natural language understanding in the Audi TT will be available in German and English (UK) at first, with more languages to follow. Other, non-NLU voice control features are available in more than 20 languages.

The new Audi TT natural language understanding system marks another important step in the long-standing partnership of EB, Nuance and Audi for voice technology. Since the release of the Audi A1 in 2008, EB and Nuance have provided state-of-the-art voice technology to a number of models and car lines. The new NLU system will gradually be rolled out to other models of Audi as well.

“Natural and intuitive interactions are key for an excellent driver user experience and user acceptance. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit sets new milestones in terms of usability and we are proud that our voice and natural language technology is part of the innovative concept in the new Audi TT”, says Arnd Weil, Vice President and General Manager, Nuance Automotive.

Elektrobit Corporation (EB)

EB creates advanced technology and turns it into enriching end-user experiences. EB is specialized in demanding embedded software and hardware solutions for wireless and automotive industries. The net sales in 2013 totaled MEUR 199.3 and operating profit was EUR 8.1 million. Elektrobit Corporation is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.

Elektrobit (EB) – Automotive Software

EB represents one of the most important suppliers of embedded software solutions for the automotive industry. In addition to the development of innovative products, it also specializes in services and consulting for the automotive industry, supplying implementations of serial software solutions for a broad range of AUTOSAR and FlexRay, infotainment, navigation, HMI and driver assistance systems. EB continues to invest in feature integration and development tools so that the in-vehicle devices get to market more quickly and ship in volume sooner.

Nuance Communications

Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN) is a leading provider of voice and language solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with information and how they create, share and use documents. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses experience Nuance’s proven applications. For more information, please visit

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