PAVAL: A location-aware virtual personal assistant for retrieving geolocated points of interest and location-based services
Engineering applications of artificial intelligence
A B S T R A C T Today most of the users on the move require contextualized local and georeferenced information. Several solutions aim to meet these trends, thus assisting users and satisfying their needs and preferences, such as virtual assistants and Location-Aware Recommender Systems (LARS), both in commercial and research literature. However, general purpose virtual assistants usually have to manage large domains, dealing with big amounts of data and online resources, losing focus on more
... cific requirements and local information. On the other hand, traditional recommender systems are based on filtering techniques and contextual knowledge, and they usually do not rely on Natural Language Processing (NLP) features on users' queries, which are useful to understand and contextualize users' necessities on the spot. Therefore, comprehending the actual users' information needs and other key information that can be included in the user query, such as geographical references, is a challenging task which is not yet fully accomplished by current state-of-the-art solutions. In this paper, we propose Paval (Location-Aware Virtual Personal Assistant 2 ), a semantic assisting engine for suggesting local points of interest (POIs) and services by analyzing users' natural language queries, in order to estimate the information need and potential geographic references expressed by the users. The system exploits NLP and semantic techniques providing as output recommendations on local geolocated POIs and services which best match the users' requests, retrieved by querying our semantic Km4City Knowledge Base. The proposed system is validated against the most popular virtual assistants, such as Google Assistant, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana, focusing the assessment on the request of geolocated POIs and services, showing very promising capabilities in successfully estimating the users' information needs and multiple geographic references.