Fiat Auto Selects Nuance Speech Technologies for Blue&Me

Fiat Auto will use Nuance Communications speech technology to produce Blue&Me, a voice-activated in-vehicle communications and entertainment system jointly developed by Fiat Auto and Microsoft. Blue&Me, based on the Windows Mobile for Automotive operating system, allows drivers to integrate mobile phones, digital media players and other personal electronic devices with in-vehicle systems. Nuance speech recognition and text-to-speech applications enable the system's voice-activated dialing, readout of SMS messages and media player control. Fiat Auto plans to roll out the system across all vehicles in the Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and Fiat Commercial Vehicle brands. The first cars with the system, Fiat Grande Punto, Alfa Romeo 159, Alfa Brera and Alfa Spider, were demonstrated at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland and at Cebit 2006 in Hannover earlier this month.

Blue&Me includes several embedded speech solutions from Nuance to enable hands-free operation of in-vehicle devices, including automatic speech recognition and text-to-speech engines for speech output. The Nuance speech engine allows Fiat Auto's Blue&Me users to select names through voice commands, including name and number dialing. Nuance also provides the system's voice readout of SMS messages. Phone conversations and messages are transmitted through the car's stereo system.

A USB port in the hand glove compartment allows a user to connect a media player or USB mass storage device to play back music through the car's stereo system.

"Blue&Me, with speech technology from Nuance, is safe and simple to use," said Giuseppe Bonollo, vice president of product portfolio management at Fiat Auto. "The voice command system, which is completely integrated with the steering wheel controls and information display, allows customers to use the phone or USB mass storage device  in a safer, more comfortable environment. We continue to investigate additional voice-enabled applications for this great system."

Blue&Me is compatible with mobile phones with Bluetooth hands free technology. The system is currently available in nine languages: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Polish, UK English, Dutch and French.

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