IBM Technology Gives Hondas a Voice Embedded Navigation System

SOMERS, NY - IBM announced it has provided voice recognition technology for a navigation system that will be a feature in select 2003 model Honda Accords. With this system, drivers can ask for directions and hear responses over the existing car audio system, allowing them to reach their destinations without having to look at maps or stop and ask for directions. The new Accord, completely redesigned, will include the "Touch by Voice" navigation system powered by IBM's Embedded ViaVoice technology and software developed jointly by IBM and Honda R&D. This latest in a series of deals for IBM in pervasive computing and Telematics represents IBM's commitment to deliver products in a wireless world. The new system has a vocabulary of approximately 150 English-language commands and can recognize a range of accents. To get directions, the driver uses the "talk" button, located on the steering wheel. The system recognizes commands such as "find nearest gas station," "find nearest ATM" or "find the nearest Italian restaurant." It also provides driving directions to and from any specified address or location. The technology is integrated into the car's audio system, so driving instructions can be heard over the speakers. The Touch by Voice human voice recognition system minimizes need for keyboard entry and also links to climate control systems for added driver convenience. "With this system, drivers can gain access to a range of services without taking their hands off the wheel," said Robert Bienenfeld, senior manager of product planning for American Honda. "It's more advanced than anything else in the market today. IBM has over 25 years of experience in voice recognition technology, and we're delighted to be working with the forerunners in this area." IBM Embedded ViaVoice delivers IBM speech technology to mobile devices such as smart phones, handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs), and automobile components. It supports a variety of real-time operating systems (RTOS) and microprocessors. The Touch by Voice system uses IBM speech technology in its command and control (C&C) form of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) that uses human speech to input commands into a mobile device. In other applications, IBM speech technology also operates in text-to-speech (TTS) mode, using synthesized human speech to output text and other information from a mobile device. "Computing is entering a phase that goes beyond the PC and into devices and places not normally associated with heavy computing power. This innovative navigation system, jointly developed by Honda and IBM, is just one example of how IBM works with our industry partners to push the envelope in the emerging area of pervasive, wireless and mobile computing, " said Raj Desai, Director, Global Automotive and Telematics Solutions. "IBM is helping companies in the petroleum, insurance, telecommunications, heavy equipment and transportation companies, as well as governments around the world, take advantage of the new capabilities Telematics technologies offer. From hardware to software solutions to consulting expertise that aligns business processes for greater efficiency and profitability, IBM is helping world-class customers like Honda break new ground."
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