Carmakers are looking for alternatives to the AI services of big tech

Daimler and Hyundai Motor are among a group of companies that has invested $100 million in voice AI company SoundHound, in a sign that some manufacturers are looking for alternatives to the AI services of big tech companies such as Amazon and Google. The integration of intelligent voice services into devices from cars to washing machines has been led by Amazon’s Alexa. Google, Apple and Microsoft are racing to catch up by also embedding their “intelligent assistants” in other companies’ hardware and services.That has raised the spectre of a handful of tech platforms controlling what could become an important new computing interface, leaving other hardware companies and app makers dependent on a small group of powerful companies with which they increasingly compete. SoundHound, which opened its AI service two years ago, has emerged as one of the strongest independents in the field. It has raised $215 million in total and claims to have more than 1,000 products powered by its voice service. The San Francisco-based company is valued at more than $1 billion following the investment round…  There has already been a winnowing out of other start-ups that have tried to build intelligent assistants and other voice services to compete with the big tech platforms. They include Viv, set up by some of the founders of Apple’s Siri, which was bought by Samsung, and MindMeld, which was acquired by Cisco. 
Richard Waters