Speech at the Summer Games

Speech technology is playing its role in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics with a digital in-car news service installed in Audi shuttle and VIP cars used at the games. The service reads aloud the latest news and sports stories to its passengers.

NewsService Journaline, developed by partners Audi and Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, uses SVOX speech technology to read continuously updated news and sports information of the driver’s choice.

Audi’s Journaline displays a textual news ticker on a screen inside the car, then the text is broadcast through the car’s sound system. Journaline was specifically designed for digital broadcast services due to low bitrate requirements.

"The idea here is to use [digital audio broadcasting] radio as a new information source," says Phil Lichtenberg of SVOX. "If you are interested in a specific topic, you can program Journaline accordingly. As soon as there is news about baseball or the stock market, it will send it to you, and the text appears on the screen of the vehicle, but since you are driving, the SVOX reads the text to the driver."

According to the Fraunhofer Institute, the data service features an intelligent optimization for easy data adoption from existing information sources as well as over DAB and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), and the Journaline decoder can be integrated into any form of DAB or DRM .

"The Olympic games may be at the moment the biggest event worldwide," Lichtenberg says. "Everybody is watching the games, so for Audi, that’s a great opportunity to sponsor this since they are the official VIP fleet."

The Journaline system is currently available in some Audi showcase models and is currently not commercially available.

News can currently be read to drivers in German, English, and Mandarin Chinese. Anyone interested in using Journaline during their visit to the Beijing Olympics can try it out in an Audi VIP car from August 8-15.

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