Ushering in the AI-Powered Co-Pilot of the Future: The Next Generation of In-Car Assistants


By Stefan Ortmanns, CEO

As cars grow increasingly connected and autonomous, intuitive in-car experiences have never been more important. Amidst all the mounting change in our industry, we are at a similar inflection point in the world of automotive AI, and it’s critical that voice assistants evolve to meet the moment.

Our ever-changing connected mobility ecosystem requires a complete reinvention of the in-car assistant: a transformation to an AI-powered co-pilot that connects with drivers the same way humans connect with one another – through voice, vision, touch, and gesture. OEMs and consumers alike need a co-pilot that unites the car’s advanced sensors with the cloud applications around them to create an effortless journey that is safer and more enjoyable and productive for all.

Why Now?

Automotive OEMs today have a tall order: they’re tasked with delivering differentiated brand experiences that meet consumers’ increasingly high standards for access to their entire digital lives, while also preparing for an increasingly connected, electric, and autonomous future. All while working tirelessly to maintain ownership over their data and leverage it to deliver the best possible experience to their drivers.

With all these factors at play, the need for secure, intelligent systems that bring drivers a safer, smarter, and more personalized in-car experience is paramount. And it requires a secure, flexible AI-powered co-pilot that can communicate with and assist them the way a human would.

Bringing the Trusted Co-Pilot to Life

The AI-powered co-pilot of the future will re-invent the driving experience by focusing on:

  • Connectivity and Proactivity: The co-pilot of the future will deliver an enhanced digital cockpit experience and contextual applications through digital twin capabilities that serve as a real-time, digital copy of the car and its sensor data that lives in the cloud. The availability of real-time cloud data combined with built-in intelligence, user preferences and vehicle sensor information will allow the in-car assistants of tomorrow to keep drivers informed and offer to perform actions on their behalf before they even need to ask.
  • Safety: A proactive, connected approach also plays an important role in enhancing driver safety. The co-pilot of tomorrow will alert drivers of expected and unexpected maintenance issues such as a critically low oil pressure, annual check-ups, tire pressure, or other safety and maintenance alerts; and deliver real-time information like upcoming severe weather conditions, offering to put the car in the appropriate driving mode.
  • Convenience: From enabling control of a driver’s smart home and IoT devices to supporting essential needs on-the-go with in-car commerce and payments, the next era of in-car assistants will be purpose-built for the connected consumer. They will offer seamless integration with drivers’ favorite third-party applications, from productivity and collaboration tools to entertainment options, making the car a key access point to their full digital lives.
  • Comfort: As the car shifts to become more autonomous, it also must grow in its ability to provide passengers with a comfortable and enjoyable environment. From proactively controlling the climate within the cabin, to providing restaurant recommendations and real-time, tour guide-style insights along the route, the next generation of AI assistants will ensure each rider gets a personalized, comfortable experience.
  • Security: Not only will tomorrow’s co-pilot offer enhanced safety, but it will also ensure the cabin is secure. Through advanced AI including biometrics, the co-pilot will be able to authenticate drivers, monitor valuable items left behind and lock doors when necessary, and even identify when a child or pet is in the vehicle and implement security measures accordingly.

Charting the Course Ahead

The amount of sensor data available in cars is growing exponentially, as are smart city systems that shape our roads. As infrastructure advances and we begin to build our lives around autonomous transportation, we need an advanced, AI-powered co-pilot that will keep us safe, productive, and entertained on the road, one that bridges the gap between computer and human language – enabling our increasingly intelligent cars serve us in the best way possible. And OEMs should not have to give up control of their brand or data to deliver it.

While this vision may seem far in the future, the time for innovation is now. An entirely new driving experience that differentiates auto brands and delights their drivers is in reach. And as we march toward the connected, electric, autonomous future together, our focus is on pioneering the next generation of AI that will transform mobility for the better, for all.

To learn more about Cerence and how we’re advancing the future of mobility, visit

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