Third Space Auto partners with Volkswagen Group on personal mobility

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Third Space Auto Ltd is starting R&D projects with the Volkswagen Group and SEAT aiming at piloting different applications based on AI, voice recognition and smartphone technologies.

Third Space Auto is building a global partner ecosystem of mobile operators, device OEM’s, automotive OEM’s and government agencies to make the journey experience personal to each unique user.

Third Space Auto’s software platform Glas.ai is designed to understand the driver’s context, both environmental and situational. It collects and analyses sensor data from the car and the user’s smartphone enabling it to make intelligent inferences to serve the passengers in the vehicle. The technology’s algorithms proactively automate the manual tasks that people carry out every day. This could be anything from finding parking to checking traffic information. Glas.ai is a hybrid solution, meaning it is not dependent on cloud connectivity to work effectively, unlike current solutions in the market. This makes it optimal for today’s network connectivity situation.

At the group level Volkswagen is focused on developing best-in-class digital user experiences as detailed in their ‘TOGETHER Strategy 2025’ memo.

Third Space Auto has created solutions that enable the control to remain firmly with the OEM and the customer. The company works in close collaboration with automotive companies, mobile operators, and third parties that constitute an ecosystem of players instrumental in making vehicles more intelligent and mobility seamless. Third Space Auto is using AI to bring contextual awareness into vehicles to help people with their everyday lives in both developed and developing markets.

Third Space Auto is working with the SEAT Metropolis lab, a part of the Volkswagen Group, to build an application based on machine learning and voice technologies. The result aims to truly customize the journey experience for each user.

Third Space Auto takes a human-centric approach to technology development, meaning building features around problems and not technology for technology’s sake. One of the company’s focus areas is the developing markets where there are many limitations compared to the developed world. These include the absence of cloud connectivity, multiple languages and dialects and a general lack of comfort with technology. Also high share of feature phone ownership and prepaid data usage are issues that Third Space Auto aims to address with its platform.

For example, voice-based user interfaces are a necessity in developing markets, such as India. They need lightweight, primarily offline machine learning technologies built from the ground up around local content and preferences. 70% of mobile devices in India are still feature phones and according to estimates it will still be as high as 50% by the end 2019. Also roughly 25% of the total Indian population is illiterate (OECD report, 2016). Offering a voice-based user interface and intuitive technology based on machine learning would provide access to essential services for the total market, mobility being a fundamental one.

Author: Little Flower, Research Analyst, SBD

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