Those of us who grew up with Knight Rider, remember with fondness the star of the show: the talking car, Kitt. Then, a car that can respond to a human voice was a thing of the future. Now that future has arrived via an app called OTTO.
Australian startup Gizmosis says its app can understand your voice, read your emails and messages out aloud, make a call when you ask it to, and even tell you where you can find parking.
It’s a well-known fact that while we all admit that using our smartphones while driving is dangerous, most people keep doing it. Even in countries where the practice is illegal, law enforcement has not succeeded in stamping out our compulsion to stay connected. The Gismosis app is an attempt to take the risk out of staying connected while driving.
OTTO enables drivers to manage calls and text messages without the need to take their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road and thereby endangering themselves and other drivers on the road.
Gizmosis founder, Alex Kain, told Startup Daily that OTTO was inspired by Knight Rider. Kain always wanted a talking car like Kitt and what he came up with in 2007 was a computer that was too expensive to put in a car. With the arrival of apps for everything, OTTO the always-listening voice-controlled mobile application was born.
Human focussed and not technology centric, OTTO interacts as a personal driving assistant. Minimising distractions, it makes driving safer while drivers stay connected.
OTTO is different from Siri and OK Google that offer general assistance. OTTO differentiates itself from similar products by focussing on the needs of drivers specifically. With OTTO, drivers can access GPS, email, text messages, call functions and social media. The driver simply asks the app to read out emails, make calls, report on fuel consumption or where the nearest parking is.
The app is free to download. Once downloaded there are additional functions that can be purchased. It is available on Android and an iOS app will be next.
OTTO is part of a new generation of platforms that enables communication between humans and devices. Gizmosis sees many exciting avenues for the business to develop in. The startup is investigating how they can meet the needs of motorcyclists as well as sales reps who are unproductive while they are on the road.
The National Roads & Motorists’ Association (NRMA) in Australia selected six startup businesses to take part in the company’s first accelerator program ‘Jumpstart’ earlier this year. Gizmosis was one of them. Apart from the seed funding and other support the startup received, the connection for NRMA will most probably be a very valuable one.