• February 10, 2014
  • By Leonard Klie Editor, Speech Technology and CRM magazines
  • FYI

Siri Hits the Road in New Car Models

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Motorists will soon be hearing Siri's dulcet tones from all over the road.

Chevrolet last year integrated Apple's personal assistant, Siri, into its Sonic and Spark models, and, based on its success in these cars, the company is adding the functionality to six more vehicles. Drivers of new 2014 Camaro, Cruze, Equinox, Malibu, SS, and Volt models will be able to perform Siri-related tasks using a voice activation button on their cars' steering wheels. Siri is there to help drivers access stored music, change radio stations, get directions, send voice-to-text messages, access their calendars, and make calls, all without ever having to touch or even look at their phones.

While Siri in the car might sound revolutionary, it's really not. Chevy was the first automaker to incorporate the technology, but Apple reportedly has deals in place with nine automakers to roll out Siri integrations in the next few years. BMW, General Motors, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Audi have also signed on for Siri integration, and Honda has already brought the technology to select Honda and Acura models, including the Honda Accord and Acura RDX and ILX, as a dealer-installed accessory. With Siri Eyes Free integration, drivers of these Honda and Acura cars who also have an iPhone or other Apple mobile device can direct Siri to read or send text messages and email; set up calendar entries, reminders, and alarms; access turn-by-turn voice navigation; and check the weather, sports scores, and stock quotes.

Not to be outdone, Ford is adding the next generation of its SYNC AppLink system, with enhanced voice control capabilities, as a standard accessory on the Ford Mustang models that will go on sale later this year. New functions include simpler in-vehicle menus and controls for launching apps, voice pass-through capability that links mobile devices to in-vehicle technology, and notifications that can be read aloud without the driver ever having to touch his phone.

After the initial introduction in the Mustang models, Ford will roll out the new SYNC AppLink to the rest of its vehicle lineup.

Industry analysts have predicted that by 2019, more than half of all new cars on the road will integrate speech recognition for drivers to control and interact with navigation, audio, and Bluetooth systems. Now that's a lot of talking cars, and certainly worth talking about.

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