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Monday, January 23, 2006

Cars becoming more audio addict-friendly

"Play radio drama playlist" could be the words my children hear coming out of my mouth in the near-future, according to a CNet article I found today. A bit from the article:

"Last week, for example, Toyota partnered with a relatively unknown voice-search specialist, called VoiceBox, in Bellevue, Wash. In development for roughly three years, VoiceBox's technology differs from established voice tech on the market because it allows people to speak conversationally to operate car electronics, rather than having them memorize and deliberately sound out commands.

The two companies are developing natural-speech technologies for Toyota's cars, but Pisz would only say that they'll become more common in cars within the next few years. "We're evaluating it at the highest levels," he said.

VoiceBox recently signed a major deal with XM Satellite Radio to add voice-search capability to its channel-rich service, which is available to more than 6 million people in the United States, many of whom listen in the car.

VoiceBox has also teamed with Johnson Controls, one of the biggest technology suppliers to the auto industry. One early product of their deal is a node that lets people search music on Apple Computer's iPod by voice in the car. The product is expected to be available this year.

"Wherever you have a large menu of files to choose from--song files, phone contacts, local directories--voice technology is inevitable," said Veerender Kaul, research manager for advanced auto technology at Frost & Sullivan, a research firm.

Certainly, for car navigation systems has been around for years, as it has for call centers. Many high-end to midrange vehicles like Lexus and Honda's Acura include voice command features for driving directions. But those technologies have long delivered a frustrating experience to consumers, thanks to a limited vocabulary of commands or poor recognition of synonyms and accents."

Hmm.. I wonder if I should just set up a playlist to the command "Don't make me pull this car over!"


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