Since last summer, two applications from ETX Majelan (Les Incollables for Renault and Karacal for Renault) have accompanied journeys on board some models in the diamond brand’s range (the Megane E-Tech, the Austral and the Hybrid Space).
Thanks to a synthetic voice, it is possible to transpose into audio mode the content integrated into Google’s connected services and delivered by the multimedia system screen. This keeps the children busy with quizzes and informs young and old about the tourist attractions along the route.
But who is this French player, who dreams of being the world leader in audio mobility? We already spoke to you on Autonews about the AEX (Augmented editorial experience) concept, launched in 2017 by Renault, during the era of Carlos Ghosn. This involved offering in audio mode content from the Challenges press group (in which Renault had taken a 40% stake). ETX Studio participated in this project. This agency, which produces 4,000 audio contents per month, has in the meantime acquired Majelan, a podcast platform launched by Mathieu Gallet, former President of Radio France.
The structure believes more than ever in in-car audio content. And for good reason, “70% of podcast listening is done on the move,” according to Jérôme Doncieux, the founder of ETX Studio. He was also present at the Paris Motor Show in 2022, where his company exhibited. She also offered two conferences, including one on “RevoluSOUND mobility”. And echoing this, Renault agrees with him. During the Innov’Audio Paris forum, in 2022, Laurent Worms, Manager of Audio Strategy within the brand, said this:
“We are very interested in immersive audio experiences at Renault. The car will be able to take into account all micro-information, including the mood of passengers. The objective will therefore be to generate the best experience on board.”
A strategic agreement with Continental
ETX Majelan can also boast of having a strategic agreement with the equipment manufacturer Continental.
Formalized during the Paris Motor Show in 2022, it provides for the integration of audio content into the eTravel.Companion solution, within its connected terminals. The objective is to offer audio content, customizable for a brand and contextualized. The car thus becomes a “real audio library”.
Potentially, it is an opening to thousands of podcasts and audiobooks, different audio channels, live and replay radio, exclusive content and read articles from the biggest media. And all this, in several languages. The alliance between these two partners also made it possible to participate in the “CORAM* 2022” call for projects and to be selected for the “Audiomobility 2030” project.
The consortium also includes ANITI (Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées) and the Ecole Polytechnique de Paris. It aims to develop an on-board audio application that will assist the user in their travels, by providing them with contextual and personalized services via connected artificial intelligence. She will carry out self-diagnoses and vehicle maintenance reports. The on-board assistant will also make it easier to learn eco-driving.
With an overall budget of 15.5 million euros, this project benefits from funding of 10.3 million euros from France 2030 over a period of 24 months. It is about winning over new readers/listeners and finding its place in an automotive connected services market estimated by GP Bullhound at $750 billion in 2030.
*Steering committee for automotive and mobility research
What other manufacturers are doing
Recently, we told you about the integration of ChatGPT by Mercedes and DS Automobiles (while waiting for General Motors and others). And in fact, the version offered on board the Stellantis group brand will be able to provide information on the sites crossed and tell a story for children. The Open AI chatbot is there to “enrich the driving experience and the art of French travel”. For example, it allows you to know which are the most beautiful cultural or artistic places that you can visit during a getaway to Bordeaux, or to list the most beautiful works kept at the Louvre Museum.
It is useful to specify that this type of service complements the voice assistants offered by manufacturers. A brand like BMW, which has been using this type of technology since 2018, will integrate Alexa (Amazon) as part of its next generation of intelligent assistant. This choice will provide access to natural language recognition, compatible with any type of device. As Amazon explains on its site, Alexa can respond to 130,000 commands and can offer the driver their favorite podcast. And indeed, Amazon’s assistant can offer millions of them (just like Apple and Google via YouTube Music, which have their own voice recognition technology and some expertise in AI).
Let us note in passing that Continental is collaborating with Google Cloud to equip vehicles with generative artificial intelligence and ensure that the driver can know the places to visit on the upcoming journey. On the other hand, you should know that Spotify is testing a process with ChatGPT to translate podcasts into several languages.
Faced with these giants, there is perhaps a card to play for specialized suppliers like ETX Malejan, who provide both content and synthetic voice technology, as well as access to car interiors. There is another French operator, Mediameeting, which could also launch into this type of activity. Its specialty is to produce podcasts (tourism, travel) and radios adapted to mobility (motorway radio 107.7, public transport, parking). The company claims to produce the best podcasts, web radios and live broadcasts in 10 languages for 12 million daily listeners.
To sum up
The start-up ETX Majelan wants to develop audio content that can be used in the car (podcasts, synthetic voice reading of texts related to the journey). It collaborates with Continental and has Renault as its first customer.
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