We're teaching computers how to understand humans

Innovative IT solutions such as the SEMMI robot are developed and tested in the DB Skydeck

Human-machine interaction

Assistance with support services, foreign languages and maintenance

Article: We're teaching computers how to understand humans

Cross-device smart systems based on innovative interaction: we develop applications that respond on demand and assistance systems that communicate with us in natural language.

Today, we still predominantly interact with machines and computers in the way that is easiest for them: using a keyboard, mouse or touch operation. Together with our partners in the DB Group and beyond, we are working on solutions for the human-machine interaction of tomorrow. By exploiting new forms of interaction and focusing on the best possible user experience, we are training machines to behave like people.

How HMI solutions are created

HMI (human-machine interaction/interface) solutions comprise various individual services that are configured, combined and controlled differently depending on the use case. They include, for example, language processing in combination with artificial intelligence (conversational AI – a type of AI that can converse naturally with humans). Typically, a variety of services and platforms, to which further services are added, are available for HMI solutions.

"Why are we so interested in the interface between people and machines? Because most of our products and services are designed for people. The touchpoint, or the way we as a business organisation interact with people, is not only strategically important but also in a state of constant flux."

Sascha Wolter, Chief Advisor & Technology Community Lead HMI, DB Systel

Profile picture Sascha Wolter

New forms of interaction for rail passengers and personnel

HMI technology is changing how we communicate and interact with computers. Conversational AI, 3D animation and VR/AR are some of the approaches used. The fields of activity and business units of DB and other mobility and logistics providers also benefit. This enables us to create value-adding, innovative, usage-centric interfaces for our passengers at stations and in passenger transport, our contact centres, and operations and maintenance.

Practical use cases for the railway:

Automatic translations in cross-border rail transport

By translating natural language directly into equally natural voice output, we save money that would otherwise be spent on language courses in cross-border passenger and freight transport and offer train drivers natural real-time communication with operations centres across language barriers.

Automated passenger support

Scalability is a particularly big challenge in customer care. Bots equipped with artificial intelligence that can direct enquiries appropriately and preconfigured replies can help answer the large volume of enquiries received regarding products and services related to passenger transport. This takes some of the pressure off our agents and provides assistance to passengers even faster than a phone call could.

Voice-controlled documentation and information in maintenance

We are working on solutions that will enable maintenance staff to document their observations and evaluations (for example, regarding damage they have detected) directly by means of voice input. These solutions will automatically comprehend, transcribe and enter the findings in the necessary forms, saving time that would otherwise be required to document findings manually.

Interested in automated support requests, integrated voice assistance for information systems or optimised interactions in cross-device use cases? Contact us for advice, solutions and examples showing how people and machines can work better together.