Start-up invents solution for your mobile phone at the wheel

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Mobile phones at the wheel causing accidents. A Berlin-based Start-up presented on the IFA now Chris – an intelligent assistant to the driver messages and phone calls in the car.



By Haiko Prengel

Wednesday, 05.09.2018
At 04:06

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The front passenger can be quite annoying. But if you take the Writing of SMS and WhatsApp messages at the wheel, they are quite useful. “Hey Chris, how many messages do I have?”, Holger Weiss asks, while he starts his old VW Touran, to go to work. “You have 83 new messages”, is the response of his digital buddy Chris.

Chris sticks to the windshield, kind of like a mobile navigation device. The Mini-Computer allows the operator to maneuver his car through the dense traffic and still answer E-Mails. Thanks to voice control it’s all legal, Fiddling with the cell phone is prohibited in the car as we know.

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Mobile phone at the wheel:
Chris for all cases

The 48-Year-old is the CEO and co-founder of the German Autolabs. The Start-up from Berlin-Kreuzberg has developed with Chris a promising product for the Automotive accessory market: an assistant language course specially designed for motorists, via voice recognition and gesture controls, Messaging, phone calls, Navigation and music playing in the car – without drivers having to touch their Smartphone to communicate. Other aftermarket systems on the market offer only partial solutions, for example, to send music by Bluetooth control, White self-conscious. At the International radio exhibition (IFA) in Berlin, which ends on Wednesday, German Autolabs his invention for the first Time to the Public.

Distraction plays as an accident cause a similar role, such as alcohol

Devices such as the digital assistant to Chris could help to combat a serious Problem: the widespread and dangerous use of Smartphones at the wheel. According to the Federal Ministry of transport is now attributable to one in ten deaths on distraction, this is the result of a study of the Allianz insurance by 2016.

Holger Weiss of German Autolabs could not leave the Finger from the Smartphone. “Although it is prohibited, have also had I at the red light often have the phone in Hand to reply quickly to a message”, the business economist. “I was stressed out all the time.” Patrick the problem was Weissert aware of. Weissert, who worked for Vodafone, Weiss introduced by a mutual friend. The two men founded, finally, in 2016, the Start-up German Autolabs.

Especially the design of the Hardware turned out to be a challenge: the 250-gram, high-tech device with aluminum housing, a memory and processor unit, five microphones and a high – resolution gesture sensor. Infotainment and Navigation with gesture control yet offered, usually only in the luxury car class – for example, in the BMW 7 series, says Holger Weiss. The combination of Gesture and voice control make Chris, however, unique in the world.

The invention will be presented in a Karmann Ghia

The majority of German but not a factory new upper class car, but in just under ten years, old used. The are far from to be a language assistant in series equipped. For the System to work, the wizard requires a Bluetooth enabled Smartphone with the operating systems Android 4.4/ iOS 10 or higher. The car itself does not need to be Bluetooth compatible. For older vehicles, a Transmitter is available as an accessory, the Chris by FM frequency connects to the car.

At the Ifa in Berlin, the German Autolabs presents his invention in a Karmann Ghia, a sports car from the fifties. FM Transmitter small radio transmitter, with which you have to convert to digital music on Smartphones or Tablets via VHF radio and the car radio can transmit. Interference can occur. The first product demonstration of the German Autolabs was limited to the city of Berlin, with excellent reception and was certainly not a representative Test.

After the official Launch at the Ifa Chris will be at a price of around 300 euros. The Messaging features are limited to SMS and calls, even in September, the service will be extended to WhatsApp-messages “perspective” to E-Mails, the company says. The FM Transmitter costs about 30 Euro. Upgrades of the App and Software should be free.

Critics point to the lack of vehicle integration of the Hardware. Such as mobile phones or external GPS devices also sticks to Chris classic at the windshield, so in the middle of the field of vision of the driver. As a result, the digital front-seat passenger can distract significantly from the traffic, especially due to frequent Swipe gesture control. In addition, quite functioning are voice assistants available on the market. About Apple’s Siri or OK Google, this also works in the Car with Android Auto. If you have a Smartphone with a good voice assistant, and Navi (for example, via Google Maps), show the added value of Chris.

“Hey, Chris, games, music!”

In the case of German Autolabs extended hardware solutions. In the medium term, the intelligent System from the factory, could be installed and integrated in new vehicles. If you’ve already manufacturers in the conversation. The workforce of Start-ups has now grown to over 30 members, except in Berlin, it still has a location in Palo Alto, California.

“Hey, Chris, games, music!” Holger Weiss is fighting through the tough Berlin city traffic. The most important calls and messages, he has to let its voice assistant, now answer, now it’s time for some relaxation. “Okay, what do you want to hear?”, the digital passenger responds. “Coldplay”, says Holger Weiss. Chris does not talk back.

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