Nuance to bring Siri-like commands to cars

Nuance, the company behind the technology used in Siri, has announced that it is making a Siri-like natural language command platform for vehicles.

Dragon Drive can be installed in cars to allow drivers to send text messages, get directions, play music, check traffic information and more, just by using voice commands.

Nuance’s Dragon Drive technology will eliminate the need to specifically explain exactly what task the driver is looking to perform. Instead, it will work like Apple’s Siri technology, listening to natural speech and figuring out what the driver is asking intelligently. Drivers will simply need to press a button on the steering wheel to activate Dragon Drive’s voice-recognition technology.

Vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile Mike Thompson says that the technology is a hybrid system; as such, Dragon Drive can use onboard software to process some of the commands spoken by the driver, making them easier to analyze, rather than relying entirely on online services as Siri does.

Dragon Drive will learn the driver’s voice patterns, and can filter out car noises such as windshield wipers. The technology will also be available to any mobile phone user, as it can use a mobile phone’s internet connection or the vehicle’s own SIM card.

The aim of the technology is to enable safe driving, allowing users to keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, and therefore eliminating distractions. However, a recent report suggests that one in five young drivers play Angry Birds or Draw Something on the road, a distraction that Dragon Drive doesn’t address.

Dragon Drive is expected to be available for vehicles in summer 2012.

Manufacturers such as Ford, BMW, Daimler, and GM are already using general Nuance technology for their voice systems, but Nuance hasn’t revealed how many car makers have opted to use Dragon Drive.

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