Cortana may be your next co-pilot. Microsoft has been testing a prototype car with Cortana’s voice-control system built in.
The company has has developed a connected car prototype with a display that projects onto the windshield and uses Cortana for voice control, said Samuel Shen, COO of the Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D Group, speaking at Taipei Times’ Tech Days event.
Microsoft demoed a Windows in-car experience last year at the Build conference. But that demo was just to put Windows Phone content on a car’s in-dash screen. Shen spoke about a car with Cortana built in, which could forgo any need for a Windows-powered phone.
“We have not launched similar products due to the high cost, but we hope to have further discussions with Taiwanese partners to jointly explore future possibilities,” Shen said.
If carmakers were to adopt Cortana as a voice-control option for their cars, it would give Microsoft a foothold in an area that Google and Apple are both trying to dominate. Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto both use a driver’s phone as the brains for you car’s entertainment system, but lack of built-in support still means they don’t have deeper control.
It appears Microsoft is looking for that built-in control. With Cortana integrated with the entire car, a driver may be able to change air conditioning setting, check maintenance reports or switch driving modes with their voice.
That all depends on car makers to cede control of their systems to a third party, which they’ve been hesitant to for Apple and Google. Depending on the type of system Microsoft is working on, car makers may be more willing to use Cortana just for her voice.
Microsoft has been expanding Cortana’s reach lately. Last week, Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster said his company is working to integrate Cortana into the next release of its Android-based mobile operating system. Cortana is also available as an app for Android users, but is slightly limited in its implementation.