• Jun 8th 2009 at 1:57PM
  • 14
Click above to view two videos of BMW's new voice recognition system after the jump

Issuing voice commands to your vehicle's infotainment system used to be an arduous task that rarely, if ever, produced the desired effect. New systems, like Ford's SYNC, have cured many of those ills and BMW is on track to bring voice recognition to the next level later this year.

Beginning in September, BMW will roll out its new voice control system, allowing users to issue direct spoken commands to manipulate both the navigation and audio controls.

The most revolutionary – if obvious – implementation of the system will be with navigation, letting the driver to speak the destination by specifying the place, street and number. With audio, the user can select an artist, album, title or even the genre of music, but at launch it will only be accessible through the vehicle's built-in media library, with external media player support coming 2010.

For all the details, make the jump for BMW's press release, along with two videos showing the new system in action.


Said and Done: BMW's New Voice Control

Munich. Starting in September 2009, BMW is presenting a truly innovative, cutting-edge technology for voice control in the automobile allowing even more reliable and convenient operation and control of navigation systems and infotainment functions.

Introducing this new system, BMW is raising the driver/vehicle dialogue to a new level of excellence. For the first time, one single voice command is sufficient to completely transmit the driver's destination into the navigation system. The driver's verbal statement specifying the place, street and number is processed immediately by the system, all data going directly into the navigation unit.

BMW is also the first European car maker to offer voice recognition serving not only to choose the appropriate audio source, but also to find individual music titles. The BMW system monitors and interprets the user's voice commands regarding the type of music, the name of the artist, an album or an individual title, ensuring precise access to the audio program desired.

BMW's voice control makes the operation and control of all of BMW's latest navigation, communication and entertainment systems particularly reliable, safe, and convenient. User-friendly optimisation of the voice control function now enables the driver to use these extended options even more conveniently, without the slightest effort.

The new system comes in a wide range of languages and is available in Germany and Austria, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, and the USA.

Unique solution the world over straight from the factory: BMW cars "understand" complete addresses and music requests.

Introducing optimised voice control into the market in all current models as of September 2009 in combination with BMW's optional navigation system Professional, BMW is once again setting standards in the simple and convenient control of navigation and entertainment systems fitted straight at the factory.

Following the full word destination entry introduced by BMW in 2006, the new system marks yet a further milestone in the rapid and precise selection of destinations. BMW is indeed the only car maker worldwide to offer a system able to "understand" a complete address entry. From now on the user no longer has to specify the place, street and number he is going to in individual steps, but is rather able to read out all this information in one, the entire message as a whole being covered and electronically processed by the system.

Should the driver, for example, read out the address "Berlin, Willy-Brandt-Strasse 1", his BMW will take him straight to the Federal Chancellery in the capital of Germany.

This new system also facilitates the process of choosing your favourite music program while driving. To do so, the system supports the specific search for audio files, following various criteria according to the user's choice. One option is to specify the type of music you desire, the artist, album or even the title of a specific song by voice control. The system then immediately presents the choice of audio files saved on the hard disc in a title list – and as of spring 2010, the system will even cover data files on a music player connected to the car.

Looking for the user's favourite song, BMW's voice control system also recognises several languages parallel to one another, finding, say, the English title of a song sung by a German artist without the slightest problem.

BMW voice control and BMW iDrive control: perfect combination of intuitive and safe function management.
Optimised voice control through BMW's new system makes a significant contribution to enhanced comfort and safety in road traffic. Activation of frequently used functions by voice control ideally supplements BMW's trendsetting iDrive control concept, offering the user the benefits of both systems all in one and ensuring largely intuitive operation of numerous vehicle and comfort functions, with the driver hardly having to take his eyes off the road. Hence, the driver is able to use the navigation and entertainment systems in his BMW quickly and efficiently, at the same time concentrating entirely on driving conditions and the traffic around him.

From the start the combination of BMW iDrive with voice control of a large number of commands ensures a supreme level of all-round efficiency. This efficiency has indeed been consistently optimised in the course of time, ranging from full-word entry in specifying destinations all the way to multi-modal control through voice control and the Controller in the latest generation of BMW iDrive. The driver is able to switch smoothly and without the slightest interruption from one entry mode to the other while performing the same process, with voice recognition remaining active for simultaneous use while making entries through the Controller.

This multi-mode operation may also be combined with new voice control functions enabling the driver to use his own particular style and mode of operation for functions he requires particularly often. To enter destinations into the navigation system quickly and in a routined manner, for example, the driver may first use voice control and then, through the Controller, call up specific information on sights and special stopovers along his route. He also has the option to pre-select the music program by voice control and then call up his favourite title at the touch of a button.

The system therefore adjusts in unique style to the user's personal preferences, offering the safest and most comfortable mode of operation under all conditions and in every situation.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      video not found
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is that Kevin Nealon?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like how the article uses a German example and would wonder how reliable the system is with non-Germanic addresses and the handling of various accents and speech patterns. That said, I've found the voice command feature in my Audi to be quite reliable at understanding my command including the dialing of a phone number but have yet to try it with addresses.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It will probably be better than iDrive.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Voice Command in my 2006 Honda Accord worked flawlessly. I could even change HVAC controls and ask it to find "Chinese Food" or "Nearest ATM"
        • 6 Years Ago
        Honda/Acura has the best voice navi in the business for a long ass time. I have tested a previous BMW voice recon system. my GOD that was slow. i asked to change a FM stataion and it took more than 30 seconds of silence before it plays anything back to me. on a acura, the response is usually within 3 seconds.

        yes voice recon is a great system if you have XM radio and MP3 disk, just imagine what you have to do to select channel 144 if you don't have a voice recon system.

        welcome to 2003, BMW.
      • 6 Years Ago
      To balance out the comments that voice command hasn't worked in other cars--I recently test drove a G37x and was impressed by the voice command for navigation. The car overall didn't impress me, but the voice command sure did.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Man I'm with you, rented a G37 yesterday, interior was horrid. I couldn't believe Nissan's charging BMW/Audi money for it. Didn't try out the voice feature, if that's good, then there's something decent in that otherwise underwhelming bag of cheap bits for owners.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have it on my car, and it's fairly useless feature, even if the technology would be perfected. The only time on my car when I wish the voice feature would be perfect is when I have to type in something quite long like an address into my gps computer.

      I suppose my imagination is limited. I'd imagine if you had a perfect voice recognition machine, you can enter more complex commands to the computer, but then you'd need supporting features to be more advanced too. Like:

      "Computer, plot a course to destination A, but make sure to stop by X. If traffics bad, skip X on the way their, and we'll go to X on the way back. Just remind me."

        • 6 Years Ago
        If you have it on your toyota (if u own one, judging by your name) you'll know it's trash. Newer systems are much better. I've not tried this one but the MMI (3) equipped cars are insanely good. "I'm hungry", "I need gas", the street name as mentioned above can all be spoken by anyone in normal speech. No more of this cue word bs which has plagued unintuitive voice recognition from the get-go (again assuming this is at least on par with what Audi's offering)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Nope, I just enjoy driving cars.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ^Zam- do you sell audi's too?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am reasonably tech aware, but have had little success getting voice activated stuff to work. I either forget the commands or say them in a manner the device doesn't recognize.
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