Home Automation with In-Vehicle Voice Assistant
How about instructing Voice Assistant in your “In-vehicle Infotainment System” to operate Smart home appliances while driving?
Home Automation operates the home appliances wirelessly and automatically; the article describes how to extend Home Automation by communicating to Home Appliances from car using Alexa.
The Elektrobit’s object-oriented and modular architecture, expertise in Alexa Smart Home skills and Elektrobit VAB give the reliable, flexible, faster, and maintainable In-Vehicle Home Automation Infotainment System.
Imagine a scenario that you are driving back home in your car, and you want to go for a shower once you are back at home. In this scenario you can ask the HMI in your Car’s Infotainment System to turn on the Geyser while still driving, so that you can immediately go for shower without waiting for water to heat once you reach home. Another plot could be if your home is locked, and some delivery boy comes to deliver a package, you will be notified about the delivery boy while you are driving, so that you can immediately instruct home automation system to inform delivery boy about placing the package safely in your absence with the help of In-Vehicle Infotainment System (IVI) without compromising the safety while driving.
Elektrobit has the capability to develop a solution using Voice Assistant (VA) Alexa and Elektrobit Voice Assistant Broker (VAB) interfacing with Alexa Automotive SDK on non-android HMI or also possible for android HMI in case of other VAs, to achieve the above scenarios which showcases the use of Smart Assistants for Home Automation.
How VAB is advantageous to integrate Voice Assistants to HMI?
In traditional way of integration, VAs is tightly coupled to HMI, hence HMI will be impacted while adding or removing the VAs whereas in EB way of integration, Elektrobit’s VAB Core makes VAs loosely coupled with HMI, by having only one common interface with HMI and having multiple independent interfaces at VAs side.
Elektrobit’s Voice Assistant solution for IVI applications consists of a dialog-tooling and -management framework to supplement the dialog modeling potentials of on-market VAs. This flexible approach will ease modeling complex voice user interfaces that integrate domain models from internal and external knowledge sources.
Elektrobit’s dialog management and modeling framework provides an intelligent dialog management system that is independent of the existing VAs and can be integrated into Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant both at the same time. Thus, only a common, vendor-independent dialog model must be maintained, but it can be deployed to multiple VAs using “EB VAB Core” as shown in the below diagram.
The framework also simplifies coping with dialog phenomena such as anaphora or implicit confirmation, that can be addressed without writing code.
The article further describes how the home automation can be achieved using Alexa.
Alexa communication to Home Automation System:
To Turn ON the Geyser, let’s consider the user asks HMI, “Alexa, turn ON the Geyser”.
The Elektrobit VAB receives the dialog “Alexa, turn ON the Geyser” from HMI with the help of EB VAB Core and based on the wake word “Alexa” EB VAB core sends the dialog to the Alexa cloud using Alexa SDK interfaces (EB VAB Alexa Adaptor).
We shall define Alexa Skill to understand this dialog to perform Home Automation for turning ON Geyser at Home with the help of AWS IOT.
What is Amazon Alexa?
Amazon’s Alexa is a next-generation voice-enabled IoT ecosystem based on the cloud. Compatible Amazon Echo alludes to the hardware which connects to Alexa services.
Alexa controls several smart devices using itself as a home automation hub. In the home automation space, Alexa can interact with several different devices, from lights and plugs to thermostats and cameras, Alexa can help make your home smarter and more automated by simplifying your everyday routines with its AWS IOT feature.
All these abilities are achived through Alexa Skills.
What is Alexa Skills?
Skills are voice-driven Alexa Capabilities like apps for Alexa programmed to do tasks and respond. With an interactive voice interface, Alexa gives users a hands-free way to interact with your skill.
What is AWS IOT?
AWS IOT securely connects our assets, gather data and take intelligent actions locally with the help of cloud based services.
AWS IOT facilitate to use other AWS services to build value-added IOT applications, in order to on board and support diversed fleet of devices e.g. in our use case AWS IOT can directly communicate with Geyser or Home Controller or even a Raspberry Pi.
How Alexa communicates with Home Automation System using AWS IOT?
AWS IOT provides device shadows which make it easier to build applications that interact with your devices/home appliances by providing always available REST APIs. These REST APIs are utilized by Alexa skills to interact with the state of the device. Meanwhile on device side, Device can be subscribed to AWS IOT MQTT Events, and on update of a state in the device shadow on the cloud, latest shadow will be published to the subscribed device like our Geyser.
Steps to integrate Alexa with IOT ecosystem?
Step 1: Create Alexa skill for the voice command to communicate with cloud-connected devices.
Alexa skill can use existing Alexa skills from the skill store.
Step 2: Alexa API comprises a message which is sent to the AWS lambda where the voice is processed and confirms the action. The lambda function communicates the desired action to the AWS IoT.
Step 3: AWS IoT interprets the message and gives a signal of turning ON or OFF to home appliances.
Step 4: A message is sent back to the skills API to check whether it was successful or not.
Alexa uses the response to provide feedback to the user. IOT end devices can be robustly connected with a Gateway to perform various IOT applications in diverse industries such as home automation, industrial automation, retail, automotive, and many more.
We articulated how the Home Automation can be achieved using ‘Elektrobit VAB’ and ‘Voice Assistant Amazon Alexa’ as part of “In-vehicle Infotainment System (HMI)”. Similarly, any Voice Assistants can be used to make our life smarter, as Elektrobit has the competency to develop VAB which provides the flexibility of choosing different Voice Assistants and has the competency to develop various Alexa Skills to achieve versatile use cases in Home Automation.
Elektrobit recognizes that the VA vendors are more and more focusing on providing a native Android integration of their assistants, so that we still see a high value and strength of our VAB solution especially on non-android platforms.
Elektrobit Voice Assistant Broker: Smart dialogs for in-vehicle infotainment: integrating and customizing voice assistants – Elektrobit
Voice Assistant Amazon Alexa: https://developer.amazon.com/en-GB/alexa
Senior Engineer, User Experience (UEX)
Elektrobit India Pvt. Ltd.
Anjali Mishra has done BTECH in Information and Technology and C-DAC. She has 3 years’ experience in the Automotive and HMI domain.
Technical Architect, User Experience (UEX)
Elektrobit India Pvt. Ltd.
He has done B.E. in Electronics and Telecommunication and C-DAC. He has 14 years of experience in Automotive AUTOSAR and HMI domains. He worked with renowned companies like KPIT, Continental, NXP Semiconductors (From Cyient).
Associate Engineer, User Experience (UEX)
Elektrobit India Pvt. Ltd.
He has done B.Tech in Electronics and Communication and C-DAC. He has 5 years of experience in Full Stack Web developer and Alexa skill Developer.
Published in Telematics Wire