Apple announced this week that several automakers including Toyota, Honda, and GM have committed to integrating the company’s Siri voice command system into future vehicles. Apple’s “Eyes Free” function, a new addition coming to Siri, may help curb distracted driving by making many iPhone features available through voice command, an Automotive News report says.
The announcement came at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the company’s annual showcase of new software and technologies held in San Francisco. The other automakers included in the announcement were Chrysler, BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Land Rover. With these companies committing to use Apple’s Siri system, it could mean a shift in the industry’s previous approach to in-car tech. That strategy typically called for automakers to develop their own in-house telematics systems, leaving smartphones — which today include features like voice command, navigation, music playback, and of course, apps — out of the automotive equation.
Future vehicles compatible with Siri will perform many functions cars can now, such as make calls, get directions, and dictate text messages by voice command. The difference is that soon these functions will be handled by a mobile device. According to Automotive News, vehicles will interface with an iPhone via a USB cable, while a button located on the steering wheel will allow drivers to access Siri.
GM has already announced two vehicles that will be compatible with Siri, the Chevy MyLink infotainment system-equipped 2013 Chevy Spark and Sonic. Toyota was less specific about which vehicles would get Siri integration, but we wonder whether the next-generation Corolla might be one of the first Toyota candidates for the technology.
Apple would not comment on how it will cooperate with automakers to integrate Siri into future vehicles.
Apple also announced at the conference that it will be dropping Google maps in favor of a “Maps” app the company developed itself. The new app will allow for spoken turn-by-turn directions, real-time ETA, and a new “flyover” view. Maps will also make use of vector-based graphics to keep text and images clear, even when zooming or changing angles.
With this mass adoption of Siri, is the auto industry finally acknowledging mobile device companies as the experts in connectivity and entertainment? Should automakers hand the infotainment keys over to mobile developers and simply let our phones do all the work? Give us your take in the comments section below.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required), Apple
Read more: "Eyes Free" to Watch the Road: Apple's Siri Coming to Chevy, Honda, and Others - WOT on Motor Trend