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.