Vehicle driving is a daily task for most people and today’s cars have a great number of high-tech devices integrated. The technology has penetrated our cars, which actually include multi-processor systems able to monitor and control the car functionalities. However, the potential benefits of such pervasive technologies are still not available for most users because of the lack of interactive solutions able to allow those with little familiarity with the technical details of car engines and computers to exploit them.
Modern vehicles are equipped with some kind of OBD (On Board Diagnosis) system to electronically read the cause of an engine failure. OBD systems were initially designed to reduce air pollution caused by road vehicles. Most recent cars are OBD-II compliant and thus provide a standard interface to collect data from engine sensors. In fact, sensors continuously monitor the engine status and report their data to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) that collects them. Reading and managing these parameters with a computer requires a hardware interface (usually called a scan tool) that is an intermediate layer between the car’s OBD system and the computer. So far, this type of functionality has only been used for car servicing operators in order to facilitate their work.
MOMate is a new hardware/software solution for allowing users to easily exploit the OBD-II system services through a multimodal PDA interface providing a usable way to access the sensed engine data and engine status while driving the car.
Since any distraction to the driver can increase the risk of accidents, the ability for vocal input is a fundamental aspect for on-board devices: auditory information eliminates visual distraction while vocal input reduces mechanical one. Thus, for safety reasons, MOMate has both a graphical and a vocal user interface with Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Text To Speech (TTS) processing capabilities.
Main tasks supported: