Nuance and BMW vs Ford and Microsoft

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Ford and Microsoft have found great success partnering together on Sync and the rest of the automotive industry have finally taken notice. We’ve taken Sync for a ride or two and know that it works as advertised. We even took a 2010 Mustang for a spin over the weekend and even without the full-fledged Nav system with touchscreen, Sync worked great. BTW- Ford kicked some ass on the new Mustang. The interior is plush.

Anyway, BMW and Nuance announced earlier today that they’ve partnered to bring Nuance’s Music Search and One-shot Destination Entry tech to the Bavarian’s 2010 lineup of whips with Professional. Said system launches this month in the US and Europe. The speech recognition technology will go hand-in-hand with BMW’s already overly complicated iDrive system. Have fun with that.

Burlington, Mass. and Aachen, Germany, September 9, 2009 — Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN), today announced that its Music Search and One-Shot Destination Entry speech technology are now featured as part of the BMW 2010 model series. Nuance’s innovative speech technology has been integrated as part of Professional, BMW’s new navigation system. The system is available in various languages, and will be introduced throughout the U.S. and Europe beginning this month.

Speech technology has been available for many years in BMW’s infotainment systems to support voice dialing and destination entry in the conventional multi-step approach. However, through these technology advancements made possible by Nuance, the new generation of BMW systems now enables a more conversational dialogue between drivers and BMW navigation and entertainment systems. Drivers can search for music by voice and enter an entire destination address in one, simple spoken command, ultimately reducing the distraction posed by manual input and limiting visual confirmation.

Nuance’s speech technology is combined with BMW’s iDrive system, its renowned console controller that enables drivers to control the entire head unit, including entertainment, communication and navigation systems. Both interfaces can be used simultaneously and allow a multimodal use of the speech input that allows drivers to switch easily between the manual controller input and speech recognition. This allows the driver to use navigation and entertainment system quickly and efficiently while minimizing distractions. The system was developed by Harman Becker Automotive, a leading automotive supplier and Nuance partner.

“Speech technology is increasingly becoming a key automotive interface as it allows drivers to remain focused on the road, yet still take advantage of today’s most popular in-car features like MP3 connectivity and navigation,” said Arnd Weil, general manager, Nuance Automotive. “By integrating our Music Search and One-Shot Destination Entry as part of in-car infotainment systems, car manufacturers have demonstrated their commitment to providing a safer and more user friendly driving experience.”

Nuance’s One-Shot Destination Entry featured as part of the new Professional BMW navigation system enables drivers to simply speak an entire address in one, simple command versus a series of multi-step dialogs and response commands for city, street and street number. Drivers can now simply say “1 Wayside Road, Burlington, Massachusetts,” and the route will be calculated automatically.

With Nuance’s next-generation Music Search capabilities for automotive, BMW drivers can quickly and easily access their favorite, stored songs from behind the wheel by selecting the audio source, genre, artist, album or song with a simple, spoken command. Nuance Music Search also recognizes several languages in parallel. So a French-speaking driver can look for a German song title or English album, and vice versa.

Recent surveys commissioned by Nuance have shown that controlling in-car systems by voice is one of the most important features to reduce driver distraction and increase overall ease of use of the entertainment and navigation systems. Nuance’s Voice User Interface study found that consumers desire shorter dialogues with fewer confirmations. Nuance’s Distracted Driver study confirms that One-Shot functionality has a measurable positive impact on reaction time and is reducing the driver distraction. Also, manual control of media players is highly distracting with the average driver 50 percent more distracted during lane changes, versus being able to simply say the artist and song title via a speech-based interface.

Today more than 100 models from major car manufacturers and nearly all leading portable navigation device manufacturers feature Nuance’s industry leading speech technology to enable voice destination entry or speech synthesis for voice guidance. To learn more, please visit http://www.nuance.com/automotive/

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