Project 2: Integrated Voice Command System (ivcs) Carolyn Clements Abby Conklin

Concept of Operations — A Day in the Life of a User

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5.3 Concept of Operations — A Day in the Life of a User

We envision a vehicle system that completely connects a driver/passenger and their smart devices to the vehicle itself. While this system has the option for traditional touch-screen and manual control, the entire system can also be completely operated via advanced voice command technology. The voice commands that the system recognizes will be versatile enough that a user will not have to remember specific words or phrases. Using technology similar to that already available or in development, the verbal command system will be able to take spoken words in a variety of languages and transmit them into electronic commands to access music, phone calls, text messages, social media, and a variety of other applications while minimizing the distraction caused by manual interactions with devices such as cell phones and vehicle interfaces.
A typical day in the life of a user with this system begins with the user unlocking their vehicle and proceeding to enter it. Upon starting the vehicle, customizable prompts, greetings, and queries can be set to engage. For instance, a user could be informed of the current weather forecast, traffic conditions, or local news while preparing to drive to their destination. This way, information is freely available from the vehicle’s internet-connected central computer. A user could learn that part of a busy road is closed due to an accident, or that the weather could create dangerous driving conditions in the near future. News updates could eliminate the desire for the vehicle operator to browse a newspaper or read text on a smart device while attempting to drive. Therefore, the user would be able to focus on driving and avoid possible costly accidents.
However, if at any time the user is annoyed by the system, or simply wants the system to stop relaying information for a given period of time, a simple “stop” or “quit” command (or something similar in a given language) will cause the system to stop informing the user. This could be useful if the user is not interested in their current settings for news, traffic, or weather updates and wishes to drive in silence. Voice commands will still be recognized and acted on by the system at any given time, but the automatic information feed will stop. Of course, the user can customize what information greets them upon starting their vehicle, or they could disable the feature while still maintaining other uses for the system.
After listening to or overriding the start-up settings, the user can proceed to access any compatible applications installed on the vehicle itself or a connected smart device. Useful applications that the system can access via voice commands include music (Pandora, Spotify), social media (Twitter, Facebook), news, weather, navigation, text messaging, phone calls, search engines (Google, Bing), notes/memos, and others. Many drivers and passengers enjoy listening to music while traveling, and being able to access music without scrolling through a list of songs on a phone or selecting a satellite radio station on the center console will reduce the amount of distraction that a driver is faced with. Similarly with the other apps, posting to social media, sending a text message, and performing an internet search would all be made safer via voice commands and responses.
After starting the vehicle, accessing a few their favorite apps, and beginning to travel towards their destination, the user can also control vehicle conditions with the same system. Temperature can be adjusted to specific values (inside the parameters of the vehicle) simply by a command such as “set temperature” followed by a value, or it could be adjusted in increments with a command such as “hotter” or “cooler.” Additionally, the system can adjust any of the windows, set the windshield wiper speed, control the hi-beam/fog lights, and update the user on the current status of the vehicle. A status update could include tire pressure, amount of fuel remaining, and any problems with the engine or sensors in the vehicle. This way, the user can maintain focus on driving while also creating a comfortable and safe driving experience.

5.4 Life Cycle Analysis
5.4.1 Planning and Design


A team would be need to design the interface for the voice control system. This team would be responsible for designing both the software and hardware necessary for this system to work. Some of these designs could come from already extant devices, but some of it would need to be designed from scratch to fulfill the proprietary aspects of our design.

This team would have a large span of time in order to design these systems, because they would have an entire generation of cars to complete the research and engineering. This time span would be around three years, which is the average time for a new generation of cars to be designed.

This stage in the product’s lifecycle would have to take place after the hardware and software had been designed. This would put a time constraint on the previous step, but a design team could be working on the aesthetics of the interface housing simultaneously as the first team was working on the internal components. Prototyping would have to have multiple stages in order for fixes to be made. The team may find that functionality may have to be removed, or that a redesign on the software or hardware is needed. In this case the team would have to backtrack and start a new path. This means this aspect of design would require a large buffer for both time and cost.

5.4.2 Use and Repair


Making repairs on a system such as this would be difficult as most of its components would have to be hardwired to other parts of the car. Connections would have to be made to the car’s internal navigation computers, speakers, sensors, etc. This would make repairing or removing the system difficult, and impossible for a consumer to do on their own. In the case of some system failure a consumer would take their vehicle to the dealership or repair service to have their system fixed.
Software upgrades would be downloadable via Wi-Fi or other internet connections. In severe cases software would have to be able to be uploaded via removable storage such as a CD or flash drive. This renewing of software would keep the system up to date throughout the life of the car and allow for bug fixes and patches incase issues arose.  The frequency of these fixes should be kept low as they would inconvenience the operators, but background downloads may allow for more seamless updates. The cost of these updates would be free. But any mechanical or electrical failures that required service would of course have a cost

The system would have to be integrated in such a way that a failure of an external system such as the internal or external thermometer would not cause the system as a whole to fail. This would have to apply to all the systems that were integrated into the voice control system. In these cases the dashboard display would show an error message, and when a user attempted to access these parts of the functionality a voice prompt would notify them of the issue and the suggested steps for resolving the issue.

As for the primary hardware associated with the system and breakdowns would result in a complete system failure. This is unavoidable, so we would have to design replacement parts for the most vital pieces of the system.
Sustainability/ Durations:

The system would be designed to last for one generation of cars or the average length that consumers lease and buy cars. This means that parts and the system would have to last for 3-5 years. System updates would come out until they were no longer compatible with the system. At that point the system would remain operational under the latest operating system version, but no updates would be made and maintenance to that version of the system would no longer be offered.

5.4.3 Recycling


The components of the system would be recycled along with the vehicle, so any of the materials that could be reused or recycled would be extracted along with similar materials throughout the rest of the car. The system would not require any hazardous or dangerous materials, so no special considerations would have to be made.

The system would be difficult to reuse as many of the components would become out of date as technology advances. The system could also not be removed and retrofitted in to another car. These two aspects would make reusing the system in any way very impractical.
The cost of recycling would be incorporated in the cost of recycling cars.  

5.5 Economic Viability

Our system would most likely cost a larger amount than what is currently in the market, approximately $3,000.00. However with this higher cost comes a much greater synchronization with the vehicle than any other system available. Typically, once a car is purchased, the only additional costs due to advanced voice recognition systems come from cell phone data charges. Our product wouldn’t incur more data charges than systems already on the market, as the only changes being made related to cell phone data would be increasing the amount of apps available for use that require 4G. Note that the $3,000 figure is the increase in value of a vehicle with the system versus the same vehicle without the system when selling the vehicle to the customer. The system would have to be produced at a cheaper cost than the $3,000 value in order to make profit, which is entirely possible due to the integration of the system with the already existing vehicle components.

5.6 Feasibility and Details of the System Design
5.6.1 Bluetooth Capabilities

The system will incorporate bluetooth technology in order to link the smartphones, tablets, and any other compatible devices to the vehicle’s main computer and interface. A short-range wireless transmitter and receiver would be built into the dash or center console in order to actively connect devices within the vehicle’s radius. In order for a device to connect to the system, it must first be registered by selecting the vehicle you want to access and  inputting a key code in a downloadable application on the device. This would prevent anonymous, unregistered devices from interfering with the vehicles operations. Registered devices would be automatically connected to the system when in range in order to make it easy for users seamlessly transition from walking outside to traveling in their vehicle.
5.6.2 Internet Connectivity

Internet connectivity, useful for news, weather, and traffic updates, as well as apps requiring online components, can be provided for the system in one of two ways. If the user has a smart device with a data plan, the vehicle system can access the device and utilize its data plan to stream data to the car over the bluetooth connection. If a user does not use or wish to use a smart device, a data plan could be purchased for the vehicle system itself, allowing it to access internet data services such as 4G. The second option is useful for when the user forgets to their phone or wished to use the system without relying on one. Applications do not have to be streamed via an external device; they can be downloaded and accessed directly from the system’s interface.

5.6.1 Microphones and Speakers

In order to receive input voice commands, active microphones will be placed in several locations  throughout the car. These microphones will actively receive commands from the user when the user presses a button on the steering console. This will eliminate anyone or anything other than the driver from interfering with the system. The system will use the vehicles existing speakers for any audio output including media, information, and music.
5.6.1 Sensors

The diagnostic features of the system will rely on information gathered from the already existing sensors incorporated in vehicles, as well as some added sensors where necessary. Aspects of vehicle performance that will be monitored include tire pressure, fuel level, fuel economy, engine temperature, internal temperature, external temperature, battery condition, and engine conditions.

5.6.1 Control of Vehicle Systems

Many aspects of the existing standard vehicle systems can be controlled by the user’s voice command. For example, the windshield wipers can be adjusted, the internal climate can be altered, and the hi-beam lights can be switched on or off through the use of vocal inputs. In order for this aspect of the system to work, the system must be equipped to receive such commands and it must be connected to the parts of the vehicle that it will control such as the windshield wipers, air vents, and headlights.

6.0 Conclusion
Our project was successful. We were able to create an integrated voice command system with exciting new features. The app is simple to use. The system is connected, easy-to-use, and helps keep drivers and passengers safe. All these features guarantee that the system successfully met customer needs, and meeting customer needs ensures that the product will be successful in the market. One truly unique aspect of our system is the ability of our system to incorporate new apps and allow them to be commanded by voice. This provides extra connectivity. The system is more expensive than similar systems, but its extra features and more connected design make up for this price difference.

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    viewed December 2014

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new, viewed December 2014

Kelly Blue Book 2, “Ford Escape S Options”,     viewed December 2014

Toyota, “Entune”,

    viewed November 2014
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