Apple Announces 'Eyes Free' Technology For Carmakers Photo:
Peter Anderson | Jun, 12 2012 | 4 Comments

Apple's intelligent Siri is to be integrated with in car entertainment systems from nine car manufacturers.

The Apple technology, called Eyes Free, was announced during yesterday's World Wide Developer Conference and makes use of the Siri personal assistant software.

Siri allows iPhone users to access their phones by using voice commands. Of particular use to drivers, it also allows the user to create text messages by voice and have the device read text messages back to them.

With Siri to be made available to iPad users with the forthcoming release of iOS6, Eyes Free will allow voice control of a number of functions on their iPhone 4S and current iPads.

As the name suggests, users won't have to take their eyes off the road to use their Apple device. The handsfree button found on many steering wheels will activate the voice recognition functionality.

BMW, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover, Toyota, Audi, Honda and Chrysler will launch the new technology over the coming twelve months.

Conspicuous by their absence were Ford and Hyundai, as their solutions rely on existing collaborations with Microsoft.

The Apple solution differs from these Microsoft-based solutions (neither of which are available in Australia) in that Eyes Free uses the car's existing Bluetooth handsfree button.

Ford's MyFord Touch and Hyundai Kia's Blue Link/UVO require investment from these car makers to integrate hardware and software into their vehicles at point of manufacture.

Eyes Free may only require a small tweak to the car's software to activate Siri, the way iPhone users do by holding the home button.

Many cars already have functionality to control music and make hands-free calls on Apple devices using the same built-in hardware used for any Bluetooth compatible phone using standardised software.

For now, timing for the market rollout of Eyes Free will rely on the participating carmakers. We'll keep you up to date as the announcements are made.

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