Nuance launches in-car voice-activated platform

Summary:Nuance has launched 'Siri for cars' -- a new voice-activated in-car system --- that includes Nuance's trademark 'intelligent' natural language search technology.

Nuance, the leading voice recognition software company, today announced an in-car natural language system. Think Siri, but for your car --- always up to date, and always connected to the Web.

Dubbed Dragon Drive, the system allows for hands-free and eyes-free message dictation, along with access to music and satellite navigation, all powered by the existing Nuance Dragon technology.

It comes only a few months since Nuance jumped into the voice-activated TV market following an announcement at CES 2012.

When you speak, Nuance's technology "understands" what you say, and performs that function. Whether it's sending a text message, checking the weather, skipping to the next music track, or searching the Web for something, Dragon Drive will return the results it has in-car or in the cloud, according to the company.

In June 2011, Nuance acquired SVOX for its in-car voice-technology, though terms of the deal were not disclosed. By bringing natural language platforms to the connected car, it allows users to search fluidly without 'thinking' like a machine.

Nuance, with a market cap of $6.58 billion, is already used in a vast number of spaces and platforms. It makes perfect sense to bring it to the in-car environment to suit those while driving --- particularly when its voice-activated functionality is the one mode of input one has left when both hands are on the wheel of a car.

It's the right time for Nuance to jump on the voice bandwagon, despite it being better at it than Apple, thanks to the popularity of Siri. ZDNet's James Kendrick suggested Apple, at the time with more than $100 billion in cash, should buy Nuance for its industry superior voice technology.

Nuance's technology enables Siri to work; it needs the transcribing functionality Nuance's software provides to piece together commands based on a person's natural speech pattern.

Dragon Drive is available in U.S. and U.K. English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, with further languages rolled out throughout the year.

Image credits: Nuance.

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Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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