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Honda To Introduce Voice-Recognition Technology

September 15, 2004

Honda will become the first auto manufacturer to include voice-recognition and text-to speech technology in new models, according to news reports.IBM’s Embedded ViaVoice technology will be available on the 2005 Acura RL, in October. The Honda Odyssey, available in September, will produce maps and "speak" turn-by-turn directions from the navigation system. Drivers will also be able to make phone calls or crank up the air conditioning, all while keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.The audio directions are produced using female voice recordings divided into phonetic sounds that are merged into natural-sounding words. The voice-recognition system was designed to work in the presence of ambient sounds such as air conditioning or a racing engine, as well as regional differences in speech patterns.Carmakers sold about 2 million voice-recognition systems in the U.S. in 2003, according to Telematics Research Group, an auto technology consulting firm. That number is expected to surpass 11 million by 2010 as the cost of voice recognition declines to a fraction of its current $500 to $1,000 per car.The Honda option will be priced at $2,000.
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