Apple iPhone's Siri System to Appear in Cars

Dennis Faas's picture

A new in-car voice recognition system will reportedly use the same technology as Siri, the "virtual assistant" found on Apple's iPhone. The idea is to let drivers give the system commands in conversational language rather than having to use a specific (and often awkward) sequence of words.

Siri, which stands for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface, was one of the highlight features of the iPhone 4S when it debuted late last year.

Siri: A More Natural Way to Communicate

Siri is designed to process typical spoken language.

For example, if it worked as designed the Siri software would understand the three statements: "I need a restaurant next Thursday," "book a restaurant for next Thursday," and "find me somewhere to eat next Thursday," are all effectively the same instruction.

This type of technology hasn't yet been available with in-car voice control systems.

A driver needing to phone a particular person or to change a destination on the car's satellite navigation route will often have to speak a very specific set of instructions that can be difficult to formulate or remember. That effort can distract a driver, putting vehicle occupants at risk.

Siri + Autos = Dragon Drive

Now Nuance, the company behind the Siri technology, is releasing its own in-car voice recognition system. Called Dragon Drive, it will understand six spoken languages and will recognize and process natural speech more readily than previous systems.

At the moment, no manufacturers have signed up to use Dragon Drive, so drivers may have to wait until 2013 or 2014 before they can begin to buy cars with this advanced voice recognition system. (Source:

Nuance has had to make several changes to the Siri software to make it suitable for use in cars. The idea is to build the capability directly into the car, so a user can trigger the voice recognition system just by pressing a button on the steering wheel.

Unlike Siri, the user's spoken commands won't be processed entirely on remote computers, as this could cause unwelcome delays when the car is traveling at considerable speed and thus rapidly switching to new cellphone towers.

Instead, some of Dragon Drive's voice processing will be done on-board the car; the system's wireless Internet connection will be used mainly for accessing information that the driver is requesting.

The Dragon Drive system will also reportedly update itself to better distinguish between the user's voice and background noise created by the car, its motion, and its surroundings. (Source:

Rate this article: 
No votes yet