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Talking to Your Car

Techstination feature for Thursday, September 2, 2004

Talking to your car. The next generation of speech recognition arrives. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Honda and IBM have announced the latest generation of in car speech recognition. A navigation system that understands more than a million street names. Tell it what kind of food you want to eat….and it will show you where the nearest restaurant is…complete with Zagat Guide recommendations. IBM pervasive computing VP Alistair Rennie…

"There's huge implications to that. Both in terms of the usability of the system, how convenient it is, how easy it is to use…as well as the safety because you can start to use the navigation system while your hands stay on the wheel, your eyes stay on the road and just get a lot better experience. So speech recognition is one of the places where we're starting to see very significant traction in automobiles, as an example of one of the early places."

IBM's technology is also being used by General Motors in its OnStar system. What lies down the road?

"One of the things that we're looking at as a way to improve recognition is to put a camera in the car so we can look at lip movements and correlate that with what we're hearing from the voice so we can improve accuracy even further. One of the derivatives of that is once you have that kind of ability to see what the drivers doing and look at the patterns for driving, you can start to identify unsafe situations like somebody falling asleep."

And your car could respond by shaking the steering wheel perhaps…to keep you alert. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.