System aims to enhance speech recognition in noisy automotive environments
Israeli startup Hi Auto announced that it is emerging out of stealth mode to demonstrate its audio-visual commercial solution for speaker separation and speech enhancement in vehicles, which is aimed at solving the reliability problem of voice-based vehicle control in noisy environments. Hi Auto has completed a $4.5 million seed round led by the Israeli car importer Delek Motors and Hi Auto's active chairman Zohar Zisapel. Other investors were Allied Holdings (holding company of car importer Champion Motors), Singapore-based Goldbell Group, a leader in the field of distributing and leasing of industrial vehicles, and Plug & Play, which works with automotive corporate partners to introduce innovation. Hi Auto is planning to use the funds from the seed round to complete the development of its first product, launch sales, and expand its team. The company says it has already established contacts with top automotive players, which are expected to examine its technology in early 2020.
According to the company, speech recognition platforms today suffer from poor recognition rates in a noisy environment, such as kids in the back seat of cars, ambulance passing by, or heavy rain. Hi Auto’s audio-visual approach, which combines a microphone and a camera that tracks the speaker’s lips, will reportedly "eliminate all noise and will make speech recognition in cars work reliably under any noise condition."
At this stage, Hi Auto is focusing on the automotive sector. However, the company says its solution can be applied in a broad range of use cases in various fields where there is a need for speech recognition and clear conversations, including automotive, contact centers, video conferences, and robots serving customers in the hospitality industry.
Hi Auto will demonstrate a prototype of its solution at CES 2020, to be held January 7-10 in Las Vegas.