Subproject 3: Embedded Dialogue Component for a Car

In this Work Package, dialogue machines and dialogue management for embedded platforms will be developed for the use in a car.

Special Challenges for the Use in a Car
The special position of the SmartWeb user as the driver of a car on the one hand and the compared to standard-computers reduced capacity and differences in the input-output devices on the other hand, demand a separate development of the SmartWeb technologies for their use in cars.

  • Small Footprint and Reduced Processor Capacity
    The performance of car built-in processors lies considerably beneath that of a desktop computer or server and is generally at most comparable to that of a PDA.
  • Combination of Onboard and Off-board Information
    Information provided by SmartWeb from the mobile Internet has to be linked in the car to information and information technical applications available onboard in a way that is transparent to the user. For example, information provided onboard by the navigation system (route planning) has to be linked to more information from the Internet like for example current restaurant recommendations etc.
  • Consideration of Onboard-Input-Output Devices
    The input-output devices in a car are different from those of a computer or a PDA. The acoustic canal in a car is characterized by qualitatively higher audio-output and better acoustic equipment (at least in the upscale segment). The optical output canal in the upscale segment has in comparison to a PDA or a Smartphone a bigger display. Besides the display for the navigation system, the car can also contain additional displays for co-driver and other passengers. On the input side, elements known from computers and PDAs like keyboard, mouse and pen are not available.
  • Consideration of Command & Control-Speech-Commands
    Besides complex dialogues to search for information and for route planning, speech operations in a car currently deal mainly with simple requests for the controlling of devices, e.g., "answer phone call" or "turn off radio". The more complex dialogue applications made possible by SmartWeb should not disturb these speech-command applications.
  • Consideration of the Driver's Workload
    A special challenge for the user interface in a car lies in minimizing the distraction and here especially the visual distraction of the driver. This is why speech control is even more important here than in other areas of application.

The Potential of SmartWeb Technologies in a Car

The use of technologies developed in SmartWeb for their application in cars could for example lie in speech access to instruction manuals and service-data-repositories on the one hand, or they could lie on the other hand in an interaction-centered conversational system. Through the automatic pre-processing and semantic annotation of an instruction manual, a help system can be generated with which the user can access information concerning the car by asking questions like "How do I shut off the air-conditioning?" An interaction-centered conversational system makes it possible to engage in a dialogue with the driver during long drives on motorways about points of interest that lie on the way.

The technical realization of this car-dialogue-machine accounts for the above-mentioned requirements in the following way:

  • Focus on speech dialogue to minimize the distraction of the driver and to account for the reduced availability of input-devices
  • Application of a preceding meta-dialogue-manager to handle command & control commands
  • Stronger use of dialogue-compiler-techniques to minimize the strain on the processing resources
  • Use of application-merging-technologies to enable the combination of onboard and offboard applications

The dialogue in the car is based on the components dialogue machine and dialogue manager provided by Siemens and DaimlerChrysler. Those components will be adapted to the special requirements in SmartWeb.

Siemens' dialogue machine DIANE follows a transaction-centered approach. An application is defined as a set of transactions. Each transaction contains a set of parameters that are entered by the user in order to be carried out. In case of several possible meanings, DIANE independently leads a clarification dialogue. The dialogue behavior can be calibrated - also dynamically - to the modes "restrictive", "with over-answering" or "free". This enables a dialogue variance that ranges from "rather controlled" to "completely free" depending on the driving situation. This means that the dialogue could be completely user-initiated. Transactions and parameters are defined via XML-pages (DianeXML).

An important part of this Subproject is the development of compilers that enable the automatic offline generation of complex dialogue applications compiled from different information sources but especially from documents that were generated through the SmartWeb-analysis-methods and are runnable on car-typical embedded hardware.

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