Apple is working with leading car manufacturers to integrate the Siri voice recognition and control system from its latest iPhone to enhance the in-car infotainment options available.
Working with voice control buttons that already exist in many Bluetooth-enabled cars, you will be soon be able to access a range of Siri functions like selecting and playing music, hearing and composing text message, using maps and getting directions and getting calendar information and reminders. Input will be via the car’s built in microphone and output via the vehicle speakers. Apple has had to make changes to the Siri system to improve the user expereince in cars, which typically have high background noise levels, interfering with speech recognition.
Mercedes-Benz look like they will be first to market, having launched their new A-Class with a specific module on the COMAND navigation system. This will no doubt please technophile users in allowing access to Social tools like Facebook and Twitter, Media such as your iTunes library and Places which contains a Garmin-based navigation application including traffic data.
You can also share your location via Glympse so third parties can see your location at a given time, and search using Google using the Mercedes web browser and even use a basic web browser whilst stationary.
Drivers have to download a specific App in order to use the new iPhone integrated solution.
The functionality on the news A Class gives it the best smartphone integration of any current car, allowing access to features that otherwise would need direct user input. This should increase user safety, assuming that drivers will spend less time trying to look at their phones and instead speak instructions to their car. Other Mercedes models look set to follow shortly.
Manufacturers are increasing using technology as the battleground for differentiation and adding value to their consumer offering, with Ford pushing their SYNC system which can control audio, navigation and even climate control via voice commands.
As Apple dominates the smart phone ( and tablet ) market it is a clever move by Mercedes-Benz to deliver an improved solution specifically for the typically affluent iPhone user.
By Terry Hogan, motoring.co.uk
Fri, 13 Jul 2012