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Cars May Soon ­nderstand More of What You Say

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Current automotive voice controls are quite limited.

More elaborate and robust voice control systems may soon replace the limited voice controls now in cars.

Credit: ALAMY

Many cars today now come with voice control, but the capabilities of these systems is quite limited. Drivers often have only a few command phrases they can use and often they have to repeat these phrases before the command is recognized. However, Charlie Ortiz, Nuance's principal manager of artificial intelligence and reasoning, says more elaborate and robust systems could be coming to cars soon.

He predicts more advanced voice-recognition systems will be able to understand and act on vaguer commands, such as a suggestion about the type of music the driver wants to listen to or deducing where the driver wants to go even if they don't have the exact address. "I want to be able to say, 'I want to go to a restaurant in the marina near the ballpark,'" Ortiz says.

He believes the more advanced voice-control systems he envisions could be available within the next few years. However, some are concerned that more naturalistic voice-recognition systems also could be more distracting to drivers, creating new problems even as they solve old ones.

From Technology Review
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