Pioneer bringing Android to our rear view mirrors, powered by Robin Labs voice technology

January 9, 2014
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With the creation of the Google-led Open Automotive Alliance, it’s clear that manufacturers feel that Android has a place in our automobiles. Whether its a unique tablet that is able to control a car’s infotainment system and air conditioning or an in-dash cradle, we are already seeing some clever ways that Android can change our automotive experience.

Nothing is quite a crazy as Pioneer’s Drive Agent Mirror, however. Pioneer’s Drive Agent Mirror is effectively a smart mirror, powered by Android and capable of providing an in-car digital assistant and infotainment system.

The theory is that putting a touchscreen device into a mirror is less distracting than your dash (or elsewhere), because it is a place you’re already used to glancing at regularly. Of course that also means you have a potentially major distraction right within easy view.

The theory is that putting a touchscreen device into a mirror is less distracting than your dash (or elsewhere), because it is a place you’re already used to glancing at regularly.

The Pioneer Drive Agent Mirror is wider than your typical rear view mirror, and the touchscreen component only takes up part of the display. When powered down, it is apparently reflective like the rest of the mirror. The smart rear view mirror is designed to be used for navigation, in-car music and even as a digital assistant.

Aside from using touch to control it, the system will also be powered by Robin Labs’ natural voice processing technology. If Robin Labs sounds familiar, that’s because this is the same company that was previously in the news for creating an independent demo that was previously rumored to be an official Yahoo digital assistant app.

So when can you expect the Pioneer/Robin Drive Agent Mirror to arrive to an automobile near you? That’s a little less clear. At least for now, it seems like the Drive Agent Mirror is more of a demo than something that Pioneer and Robin are ready to make available commercially. It’s still possible that we might see the smart mirror arrive in select autos this year, but don’t get your hopes up.

What do you think of the idea of a digital assistant and infotainment system built right into your rear view mirror? A good idea or a recipe for disaster? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!

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