Demystifying the story of Huawei Xiaoyi getting on the car: Xiaoyi is everywhere

March 2021, Shanghai.

Shen Fei, do you want to come out and set a flag?

When talking about the "extreme smoothness" of the smart cockpit, the leader sitting in the middle of the meeting room glanced at Shen Fei beside him.

Amidst the laughter of his colleagues, the product manager of the in-vehicle Xiaoyi felt helpless and embarrassed.

Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei's terminal business, once made a phone call to put pressure on him: "The voice in the car must be perfect! It must bring the best experience to users!"

▲Yu Chengdong, Executive Director of Huawei, CEO of Terminal BG, CEO of Smart Car Solution BU

Since joining Huawei for more than ten years, Shen Fei has also experienced many projects from 0 to 1, but the product will have a process of iteration and market feedback, requiring the first version to be competitive, and it is still in a completely unentered One can imagine the difficulty of the field that has passed. Therefore, he does not have much confidence.

"Extreme smoothness" is Huawei's most important requirement for the Hongmeng cockpit. Shen Fei felt a headache when he saw this word, and felt that this word gave him a lot of pressure.

He believes that in the cockpit scene, voice interaction has become more important than ever, and the existing cockpit network and computing power comparable to mobile phones are simply the opposite of the "extremely smooth" voice.

According to the World Health Organization, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of approximately 1.3 million road deaths each year. In this context, the voice function that allows the driver to leave the screen has naturally become an important criterion for judging the quality of the smart cockpit.

Huawei realized this very early – if the voice is not good, no matter how good the Hongmeng cockpit is, it will not be truly recognized by users.

But how good is it? In the early stage of the product, Shen Fei set his sights on Xiaopeng Motors.

Huawei's standard has always been to be the first and be the best. "If I can't be competitive, Mr. Yu will "kill me." "

find a problem, solve a class of problems

From Shen Fei's words, it is not difficult to see that Yu Chengdong attaches great importance to the small art of the car, and Yu Chengdong, who practices the purpose of "finding a problem and solving a class of problems", is also very keen to find bugs for employees.

According to incomplete statistics, Yu Chengdong threw more than 200 questions into the test group in the months from the prototype test of AITO Wenjie M5 to the launch and delivery. He asked the responsible person to give feedback within 2 hours and come up with a clear solution within 24 hours.

▲The scene of Huawei's winter flagship new product launch conference in 2021

Although the work pressure was a bit greater, Shen Fei believed that Yu Chengdong still established a very good direction for the team.

First of all, voice interaction is a "team competition" that requires the cooperation of various ecology and departments. The direct leadership of the terminal business CEO blurs the boundaries of various departments and greatly improves team coordination. This kind of cross-team, even cross-level organization, without the attention of leaders at the level of Mr. Yu, may not be able to achieve such good results with three or five times the effort.

"Mr. Yu doesn't criticize others in the group," Shen Fei said. Although Yu Chengdong will teach employees behind closed doors, in the group, he will communicate effectively with engineers on specific issues, "You just think why he keeps mentioning such details? The damping feeling of the door handle, the size of the seam , he will take care of it.”

In May last year, someone reported to Yu Chengdong that Xiaoyi could not open the charging port, and Yu Chengdong threw this problem into the group as usual. Logically speaking, Xiaoyi was already very stable at this time, and Shen Fei felt that it was impossible for his team to make such low-level mistakes.

Yu Chengdong replied: "Brothers, you still need to be humble and look at this problem in depth? This may be a type of problem that is not easy to reproduce."

In the following three days, the CEO repeatedly executed the command "turn on the charging port" in his car every day, trying to reproduce this bug.

"He just wants to make the problems and experience very clear, and use his own experience and problems to guide the team to improve. From this perspective, Mr. Yu is the chief product manager of all our products." Shen Fei said.

Yu Chengdong not only likes to find bugs by himself, but also likes to invite others to find them with him.

▲ AITO Wenjie M5 in Huawei store, picture from: DearAuto

At that time, there were still a few months before the delivery of the AITO Wenjie M5. Xiaoyi was still immature, and he would face two major problems when entering the store in a hurry: one was that the voice could not be woken up, and the other was that it was easy to "roll over" after waking up.

But Yu Chengdong insisted on letting the car into the store, thinking that "if you don't accept the 'bombardment' of consumers, there is no way to grow rapidly."

The period from January to March 2022 was the most stressful period for Shen Fei in these years. He was arguing with different teams about business and analyzing follow-up improvement measures, during which he also lost a lot of hair. Today, he especially hates the word "rollover".

Recalling the first day when AITO Wenjie M5 entered the store, Shen Fei was extremely excited: "I was shaking all day, not kidding."

He doesn't know what kind of problems will occur after entering the store, whether the server on the cloud side will be down, whether there will be problems with the end-cloud architecture, and whether Xiaoyi will be unable to use it for a long time. wake……

For a person who makes a product, the product is equivalent to his child. "The success of the product is still the first. I also need to consider the dedication and hard work of the entire team for such a long time. Xiaoyi also urgently needs positive feedback. This emotion can't even be considered a grievance, it's just a small episode."

External opinions are always the most sensitive. To do voice interaction, we must not only pay attention to technology, but also care about how consumers perceive it.

"The opposite of love is indifference. Users who give us opinions is Ai Xiaoyi. Users and Xiaoyi are actually a positive two-way rush." ​​Shen Fei said.

By exhibiting prototype cars, Shen Fei and his team got a lot of feedback from consumers, and Xiaoyi is also constantly evolving.

At this time, Shen Fei felt that he could give Xiaoyi 60 points.

AI is everywhere, Xiaoyi is everywhere

Xiaoyi, Xiaoyi, help me adjust the temperature to 23 degrees, and leave a gap in the window.

This sentence came from Yu Chengdong's external demonstration. After receiving the instruction, Xiaoyi completed its task brilliantly.

In fact, the scene of "car window seams" was not supported at the beginning. The windows can only be fully opened, fully closed, or have a clear percentage. The addition of such a small detail is behind a series of demand reviews and demand decisions.

On December 23, 2021, after the AITO M5 conference, Huawei set up a special experience improvement team for in-vehicle voice, with participation from Smart Car, Car BU, and Cyrus. Until now, the team has been meeting weekly to discuss requirements.

They decomposed the car voice experience into 4 KEPs: car control, navigation, media, and phone. "We focus on attacking these, and it takes a lot of effort, requiring all the paths of KEP not to have any 'breakage' of experience," Shen Fei said.

At that time, we discussed all the features of voice assistants in the industry's vehicle scene, and what problems each feature should solve for a long time, and then put on the KEP/KEI accumulated by Huawei CBG for so many years. User experience path, be an assistant that can cover all the experience paths of consumers.

The most typical ones are polyphonic regions and semantic rejection .

In the vehicle scene, the position of the passengers is relatively fixed, and the recognition of multi-sound regions and semantic rejection become very important. To do these two points well, not only the computing power of the CPU, but also the boundary problem must be considered.

For example, the user is used to talking while looking at the screen, but the microphone is not actually on the screen; or the user communicates with another passenger while giving instructions.

The Shenfei team also identified the key to the problem early:

  • Algorithmically optimize the boundary of the sound zone to solve the problem of crosstalk;
  • Multi-layer voice and semantic rejection are superimposed on the model, so that the user interaction in the car will not be disturbed.

In addition to timely response to instructions, users also need more proactive services. Huawei believes that Xiaoyi is not just an interactive tool, it is also an assistant that can actively complete some things for users at the right time.

Shen Fei mentioned "Xiaoyi's suggestion".

Xiaoyi suggests that it appear at the bottom of the screen in the form of a service card. In addition to the reminders on the schedule, Xiaoyi will also intelligently and dynamically recommend services according to the user's usage habits and scenes, and even actively control the vehicle.

For example, when entering a tunnel, in order to keep the air in the car fresh, Xiaoyi will automatically turn on the internal circulation and notify the driver; when the vehicle's fuel/battery is low, it will recommend nearby gas stations or charging stations; the user is about to arrive home Xiaoyi will also automatically remind you that there is an uncollected courier and provide a pickup code.

Shen Fei said that behind these active services, the environment, location, scene, and even the perception of the driver are involved. At the same time, perception and decision-making are put together. In order to ensure that Xiaoyi makes the right decision, it may be necessary to pull the entire cockpit domain.

At the right time and at the right place, push the right content to the right person, bring users intelligent perception, and become an indispensable intimate assistant for users to travel, which is the direction of Xiaoyi's efforts.

Smart cockpit, there is still a lot of room for imagination

This industry is actually very voluptuous.

At the beginning of the establishment of the project, Shen Fei’s goal was to "be the user’s favorite voice assistant". It is far from enough to be on the same level as competitors. Only by continuously providing improvements and innovations, and using them often and often new, can consumers continue to pay attention you.

Now more than a year has passed, and each company has differentiated in the car voice. For example, the "device-cloud collaboration" architecture behind Xiaoyi not only protects user privacy, but also uses sufficient computing power on the cloud side to bring higher accuracy.

But the biggest difference between Xiaoyi and its competitors is Huawei's all-scenario strategy behind it.

For Huawei, Xiaoyi is not only a voice assistant, but also a solution that can realize more scene linkage. One of the examples is the "Mobile Phone Lost Reminder" function implemented on AITO Wenjie M7.

Huawei has been thinking about how to better leverage the value of data? How can consumers be better understood in a given location? At the same time, it will not make users feel disturbed?

Shen Fei revealed that currently more than 99% of the service demands are initiated by users to Xiaoyi, while the services initiated by Xiaoyi are less than 1%, but in the future, the proportion of the latter will only increase.

This is the same as the development trend of the smart cockpit, and it is irreversible. In Shen Fei's view, the intelligence of the cockpit should be divided into two levels.

The primary smart cockpit only brings a smarter operating system to users, providing richer and more powerful functions. It is a very shallow level of intelligence, similar to the contrast between smartphones and feature phones.

At the next level, we come to artificial intelligence, which is a kind of intelligence of data and intelligence of perception. "Everyone is focusing on this thing, and it's really not something that can be done in a year or a half."

The current Xiaoyi already has such characteristics. Shen Fei feels that the value of "AI + data + service + platform" will be gradually reflected in the upgrade iteration of the Hongmeng cockpit.

At the same time, the development of software is also constantly promoting the progress of hardware. Shen Fei gave an example.

For example, some lights are now knobs, and the user turns them on by voice, but turns them off by hand. How can the user reset them? It will be very troublesome the next time the user uses the physical buttons. This kind of problem takes a while to solve.

Today, the Hongmeng cockpit has been on the car for one year. In Shen Fei 's eyes, Xiaoyi has finally reached 80 points .

In fact, there are still many plans that have not been implemented, and there is still a long way to go, but in the end we still have to go back to the user experience.

There is no doubt that relying on Huawei's full-scenario capabilities, Xiaoyi has reached the industry's "ceiling" level, although it has only played a part of its advantages.

The current Xiaoyi is like a champion in the college entrance examination – she has already reached the top, and the future can be expected.

*Note: Shen Fei in the article is a pseudonym.

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