Design of the VICO Spoken Dialogue System: Evaluation of User Expectations by Wizard-of-Oz Experiments

Steadily increasing dissemination of computer applications has resulted in an ever-growing functional complexity of electronic services and devices. Hence the utilization of natural language is highly desirable to facilitate their usage, especially in the automotive environment where safety is a mandatory requirement. User-friendly, comfortable and safe vocal interfaces that ensure natural interactivity are needed. VICO, the Virtual Intelligent Co-Driver, aims at the development of an intelligent conversational agent enabling ubiquitous natural interaction between humans, and digital devices and services in the car. This paper gives an introduction into the key objectives and goals of the VICO project. It presents detailed information about design and experimental setup of the performed Wizard-of-Oz experiments to evaluate expectations of potential users early in the design and development process. The results of the conducted experiments are introduced. The subjective ratings of test persons towards the evaluated simulated prototype system were very high, and the speech-controlled approach considered as extremely easy-to-use. Finally, conclusions as well as consequences of the perceived results on design and development of the first prototype VICO system are described
Published in 2002