Ford will offer voice-operated controls on its European models, using software provided by Nuance, it was announced yesterday.
Nuance, which merged with ScanSoft in 2005, offers a range of voice-control and text-to-speech solutions. The company's VoCon® speech recognition and RealSpeak™ text-to-Speech platforms are being integrated into the Blaupunkt human-machine interface electronics (HMI).
“Nuance has a long history of working with Ford,” according to Steve Chambers, NUance exec.
“Now with the advanced speech technology in the Blaupunkt navigation solution, we are able to offer drivers a safer alternative... drivers no longer need to take their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel to dial their phone, enter an address to the navigation system or control their audio system.”
HMI with Nuance software will be available on the Ford C-MAX and Ford Focus starting in December, followed later by the Ford Galaxy, Ford Mondeo and Ford S-MAX. In addition to controlling the car's hardware, it uses text-to-speech for giving navigation directions.
You talk to the car; it talks back to you. There could be a series of TV ads in this for David Hasselhoff, though he seems to have been supplanted from the upcoming Knight Rider movie. There's no word of any associated leather-pants promotions or anything. ®