Skoda says Laura has mastered six languages, is quite comfortable with natural voice and doesn’t mind being interrupted. Ask nicely and she’ll even turn on the TV and put out the trash. Probably.
Say “Okay, Laura” to activate the voice control system and Laura will spring into life. There’s no need to press a button or to use a set of predetermined commands or phrases.
Think of Laura
As well as six languages, Laura is also comfortable with accents and dialects, which should come in handy for Skoda customers in some of the UK’s rural outposts.
Digital assistants are nothing new – many people use them at home or in the car – but Skoda’s decision to use a girl’s name is a little different. Mercedes, for example, uses the company name for its MBUX system.
Why Laura? It’s a name Skoda has used before, with the second-generation Octavia rebadged Laura for India.
Laura-equipped models will come with an on-board eSIM card included as standard, meaning cars are always online. Skoda says the transition between online and offline services is “so seamless that occupants are never aware of it”.
Tell Laura I love her
You can interrupt Laura at any time, with the radio or media player volume lowered rather than muted completely to give a “sense of having a natural, relaxed conversation”.
Thanks to Laura, lonely motorway commutes will be a thing of past – Skoda says that Laura will evolve to engage in a “kind of digital small talk”.
Much will depend on how Laura performs in ‘person’. We will report back once we’ve tested the system in the real world.