Forget the confusing map. Forget the human navigator who fell asleep three towns ago. Thanks to today’s car manufacturers and a little technology, travelers and commuters trying to determine where to go can now just ask the car.
Relying on speech recognition technology, Honda’s 2003 Accord boasts an optional navigation system that takes voice commands. Stuck in Biloxi and low on gas? Ask the car for directions to the nearest station. Kids want burgers, you want sushi? The car can tell you where to go and integrates the answers into the dashboard navigation system, all without any help from a backseat driver.
According to a Honda spokesperson, the new technology is a natural way to improve safety by keeping the driver’s eyes on the road. The car takes about 200 commands and, according to Honda, has seven million points of interest programmed into an accompanying DVD. Points of interest include everything from restaurants, ATMs, gas stations, hotels, and possibly even the world’s largest ball of twine. DVDs are updated regularly.
Other auto manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, are offering similar voice command systems. Reports on voice recognition technology in the workplace and automobiles appear in the February 2003 issue of The Ergonomics Report.