Those of you old enough to remember 80s TV show KnightRider will recall that KITT was the car of the future that every young kid – and big kid – wanted when they grew up. Yet, other than sat nav, the talking car has never really appeared – until now.
In our hyper-connected world, where household appliances are even wired to the internet and we apparently tweet more in the bathroom than any other place in the house, yet the car – our chosen form of transport – is one of the least connected places in our lives, until now.
BMW has developed a prototype system that allows drivers to compose full-text e-mails and text messages using voice commands. Using speech-recognition algorithms, drivers, as well as passengers can dictate original messages from over a million recognized words in the database. Not rocket science we know but this appears to be the first dictation software developed with car voice activation in mind.
The system, claims BMW, allows you to compose e-mails with the same ease that you would have with a PC in an office. No taking your eyes off of the road or using your hands and clear enough recognition to make it all worthwhile. Even on a long drive you could technically respond to an e-mail dictating your response and using voice commands to edit including delete, move, or replace. Imagine how much more productive the daily commute would become.
BMW suggest the system could be sold as an option on production models within three years as the first of a a new wave of voice-activated ideas including full internet search somewhere further along the plan.
Distracted driving was to partial blame in the deaths of 5474 people and 448,000 injuries in car or motorcycle crashes on U.S. roads and streets, according to the , National Center for Statistics and Analysis but many safety campaigners wonder whether hands-free voice-activated systems are any safer than the existing pushing of buttons. Technically concentrating on the item you are dictating means your full attention is nto on the road which still leaves you distracted.
Yet, in the longer-term – and the technology is already part of the way there – we all expect cars to virtually drive themselves to their pre-programmed destination anyway, with the minimum of driver intervention, at which time dictating lengthy tomes would be a regular time-waster for the average driver. The technology is there and expect it to be put to useone way or another over the next few years.
Would you buy a car simply because it had the ability to dictate mail?