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Tech firm develops “virtual concierge” for driverless cars

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A Birmingham tech company has been awarded funding to develop a cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) solution for driverless vehicles.

Conigital Group is developing a range of solutions including a virtual concierge called Gemma, which has been likened to driver aid KIT from the Knight Rider series.

By talking to the app or device, Gemma will provide users with interactive access to travel advice, news and games, the internet and premium services at the destination, such as duty-free shopping.

The Innovation Birmingham-based firm is also creating a 4D tactile map for blind and partially sighted users, a mobility-as-a-service app and a fleet management system facilitating the coordination and the telematic health of autonomous vehicles.

“At Conigital we are very focused on the passenger interaction and their experience while on the journey,” said chief executive Monique Seth.

“So for example on Project Synergy, Gemma, our virtual concierge service will be able to have a conversation, check-in online and do your duty free shopping.

“A lot of our interactive systems have accessibility built into them so that members of the elderly, visually impaired and less abled feel included and are also able to use those functions.”

The development of Conigital’s solution is being funded by three projects: Project CAPRI worth £5.7m, Project Synergy worth £4.7m and Project INSIGHT worth £2.2m.

Each project includes a range of partners and clients including Manchester Airport, Birmingham Airport; Heathrow Airport and The Mall shopping Centre in Bristol.

Seth added: “Conigital understands that for driverless vehicles to be a success, the involvement of a wide range of organisations is essential, including local and national government, insurance providers, vehicle manufacturers and infrastructure providers.

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