Cloud-based voice recognition gains steam

We’ve all wished we could interact with the TV at some point, right? You’re watching Jeopardy, or The Price is Right, and you wish your voice could be heard by somebody, anybody, inside that colorful box. Or, how about while driving? Say you’re lost in a new part of town, a part of town that you would like to leave just as soon as you arrived. Wouldn’t it be great if you could quickly get directions without fumbling around with your smartphone? Well, now we might be closer.


Cloud-based voice recognition (VR) is gaining steam – and may soon be in a car near you.

Nuance, the company behind the well-known Dragon suite of speech-to-text software, is the VR provider of choice for automotive. This week, they announced that they’re moving in-car VR to the cloud with its new Dragon Drive! Platform. This signaled a major shift in the technology. While VR has incrementally improved, it’s still the tech feature that’s most irksome to car owners. 

“One of the biggest elements that pop up on J.D. Power & Associates’ Initial Quality Study is voice recognition errors,” said Mark C. Boyadjis, an analyst who covers automotive for IHS Automotive. “There’s a huge push right now to make voice recognition better.”

So now,  your next car might actually understand what you’re saying.

Dragon Drive! is created to make accessing connected-car functions – from finding the cheapest gas to keeping up with your Twitter feed – safe and more streamlined. And it also allows drivers to do it through more conversational interaction, meaning you won’t have to speak like a robot when giving the car commands.

According to Ed Chrumka, Nuance’s senior product manager for connected car services, Dragon Drive! works with either a smartphone-tethering approach like Ford’s Sync App Link feature or an embedded cellular modem a la OnStar. But even as smartphones become prevalent and more automakers take a “hybrid” approach to connectivity – using an onboard modem for critical services like crash notification and the driver’s connected smartphone to, say, stream Pandora – cloud-based VR will likely be tied into the car’s onboard system for some time.

While the technology and ease-of-use sounds intriguing, the safety of the driver should always remain the focus. While it’s great to be able to access directions quickly without fumbling around with a phone, this technology still provides one more thing that could potentially lead to an accident. On the other hand, perhaps it could potentially decrease accident rates, as drivers may feel more at ease knowing they are just 5 miles to the next gas station, and heading in the correct direction.

What do you think about the Dragon Drive! technology? Leave your comments, below.


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