If you haven’t had the momentous experience of navigating a vehicle’s infotainment systems using voice commands, consider yourself lucky: figuring out and memorizing the plethora of standardized, robotic, and (usually quite unintuitive) voice commands is not an easy task. That’s why — in an effort to improve drivers’ ability to communicate, interact, and control their vehicle’s infotainment and communications systems by voice — OnStar has announced that it will offer voice recognition software from Nuance Communications in Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac models.
For those not in the know, Nuance is a dominant player in speech (and imaging) solutions — offering products such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking and MacSpeech that have become nearly synonymous with speech-based user interfaces on desktop and laptop computers. As such, the addition of Nuance’s voice recognition software to OnStar allows for more flexible, natural, and intuitive voice control of the system. For example, instead of going through the standard prompt of voice commands to make a phone call (“Dial”, “Call”. etc.), users can simply say, “I need to make a phone call.”
Natural Voice technology also enables OnStar subscribers to more easily connect with the OnStar Virtual Advisor — an automated technology that provides access to information such as sports scores, stock quotes, and weather conditions by reading computer text using text-to-speech technology. Users will now be able to access these updates by speaking simple phrases such as “get traffic info,” or “what’s the weather today?” And if you (or your friends or family) have in your possession a certain regional dialect that may be alien to the more “traditionally-tongued” Americans, OnStar and Nuance have taken measures to better understand such “regionalisms.” At the end of the day, the system’s flexible speech recognition allows a user in Louisiana to be understood as clearly and easily as that in New York or Detroit.
Stay tuned to GM Authority as we get some much-anticipated hands-on time with the system; we’ll have a video showing off the updated system’s features shortly thereafter.