Apple's Siri 'Eyes Free' Solution Coming to a Car Near You

Landrover, BMW, Audi and others have committed to integrating an on-wheel or in-dash button for connecting to Apple s Siri-based Eyes Free solution within one year. Change the industry? Sure. Solve distracted driving? Who knows.

Apple's updates to Siri include an in-car solution called Eyes Free, the iPhone maker announced June 11, during the opening day of its Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple already has several high-end carmakers lined up to offer this Siri in the dashboard.

Land Rover/Jaguar, BMW, GM, Mercedes, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda are all on board with a commitment to integrate the solution which will include a button on the steering wheel or in the dashboard to instantly connect with Siri--within just 12 months.

Notably absent from the list, reported Jalopnik, are automakers like Ford and Kia/Hyundai, both of whom have a deal with Microsoft (Ford with SNYC and Kia with UVO). Is there now going to be a Mac and a PC guy for cars?

The smartphone and automotive industries have long been dancing around each, trying to figure out quite how they might team up in a major way.

In 2007, Nokia introduced Nokia 500 Auto Navigation, a hands-free solution that offered directions and could re-route users through traffic jams, and in May 2010, it announced, with Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen, a Terminal Mode specification that could be used for purposes such as letting a driver access the music on her smartphone through the car s infotainment system or, working the other way, send performance information about the car to a driver s phone.

In 2010, Research In Motion purchased QNX, which at the time had its software in more than 20 million vehicles. And this June, Verizon Communications purchased Hughes Telematics, which offers telematics for the automotive and fleet industries. Both AT&T and RIM have this year shown off a Porsche 911 running QNX and fitted, up front and behind the headrests, with Playbook tablets and voice-recognition software that could be asked for directions to the nearest gas station, for example. Whether the automaker, the driver or another party should pony up for the cellular connection, an AT&T spokesperson at the event told eWEEK, was a matter still widely under discussion.

This article was originally published on 06-13-2012
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