Surf the Net While Driving Your Car?
19 January 2000Surf the Net While Driving Your Car? Do It With Voice Commands, According To a Paper at SAE 2000 World Congress
WARRENDALE, Pa., Jan. 19 -- Internet access while driving to work -- it's not just for concept cars anymore. The technology is here, safe, cost effective, and ready for consumers, according to a technical paper to be presented at SAE 2000 World Congress, March 6-9 in Detroit, Michigan. Siemans' web-based, Interactive Radio Environment (WIRE) technology allows drivers to retrieve and send electronic mail by using voice commands. They can even browse the World Wide Web (www) while keeping their eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel. Think of WIRE as a car radio. That's what the researchers did when designing WIRE's user interface. While browsing the www, you bookmark a particular website -- that's like selecting a radio channel. Once selected, you listen to the audio rendering of the website page, as if listening to a certain song on the radio. You then have the option to use voice commands for additional features, such as following a link to another Home Page, or "turning the channel" to visit an unrelated website. According to Stuart Goose, principal researcher of the multi-lingual WIRE, the majority of cars on U.S. roads contain only one occupant...the driver. Thus, a key requirement of the Siemans researchers was to design an in-car voice browser that was safe and simple to use in transit. Audio renderings can be produced for the vast majority of web sites, but some context can be lost when encountering a graphically complex site. In this situation, the user can "flag" that page and save it to their home computer for later viewing. Although speech technology has become a vaunted feature within concept cars, to the authors' knowledge, WIRE is the first sophisticated www voice browser for the automotive industry. The paper, "Audio-Only Access to Internet Information in a Car," will be presented at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 8 during the SAE 2000 World Congress, Cobo Center (Room D3-22/23), Detroit, Michigan. SAE World Congress, the world's largest showcase of automotive engineering technologies, runs March 6 - 9, 2000, attracting attendees from more than 50 countries. To attend, visit http://www.sae.org or call 1-877-SAE-CONG (723-2664); outside the U.S. and Canada, call 1-724-772-4027.