Apple takes Siri for a spin with launch of CarPlay, hands-free software for drivers

Apple has chosen the Geneva Motor Show to launch CarPlay, an in-car system for iOS users.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

While the rumours rumble on about Apple's interest in buying car maker Tesla, the company has confirmed it's definitely got high-end vehicles in its sights — at least when it comes to software.

At the Geneva Motor Show today, Apple unveiled a product called CarPlay, a voice control system for the iPhone which allows drivers to use a number of iOS features hands-free.

The system means drivers can make calls or listen to voicemails from their Apple mobile, as well as pick up message notifications using voice commands, which will be read out by Siri. Drivers can also use the system to dictate their replies.

CarPlay can also predict a driver's journey "based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts, and provides routing instructions, traffic conditions and ETA" on Apple Maps. There's also the option to get the maps sent to the vehicle's onboard display.

And for those that need a few tunes while driving, the system will mean users can pick a song or podcast to listen to from the car's controls or by asking Siri to cue up a particular track.

CarPlay will be offered in Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo vehicles this year, while BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota will also add the system to their cars "down the road", as Apple punningly put it.

The launch sees Apple joining rivals Nokia and Google in looking to take their software into vehicles.

Nokia's Here navigation unit last year released the Here Connected Driving platform for car makers, became Toyota's local search provider of choice and signed a deal with Mercedes-Benz that will see the pair work on self-driving cars together. Google meanwhile has been working on 'autonomous vehicles' for some time.

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