Coming soon: The talking car!

A "talking car" with advanced in-vehicle voice communication system is being developed.

Last Updated: Mar 07, 2011, 20:41 PM IST

London: Imagine if your car could talk to you about the best route to take to avoid rush-hour traffic or tell you where`s the next petrol pump.

Your imagination could soon become a reality, thanks to scientists who claim to be developing such a "talking car" with the world`s most advanced in-vehicle voice communication system, the `Daily Mail` reported.

In fact, the "talking car" will hit British roads next year and the system would be available in one of the country`s biggest-selling cars, the Ford Focus.

The makers of the system, called Sync, claim drivers will be able to use it to ask such age-old questions like -- "Where`s the nearest petrol station?" or "Can I go to the
toilet?" or "Are we nearly there yet?"

In all, Ford says its voice-operated technology will be able to master 10,000 commands in 19 languages, allowing motorists to control audio, telephone and satnav systems as well as accessing information about the surrounding area.

Jason Johnson, Ford`s product development engineer, said: "Sync`s unique connection between the driver`s devices and the vehicle means that the user?s voice can control both
the car and the device.

"Plus, Sync is being developed specifically for European customers with the ability to understand multiple languages and accents."

In fact, a version of Sync with 100 words has been available in the US for three years and is fitted to three million Fords. Users can choose from a range of options – some have claimed the female voice sounds like "a robotic Cher".

According to Ford, the system, announced at a technology show in Germany and will be available on the next generation of Ford Focus next year at a price of around 350 pounds, is being developed in partnership with Microsoft.

And, in the event of an accident, the system can identify exactly where in Britain or Europe it has happened and automatically call a local emergency number in the local

However Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said he was "disturbed" that drivers were being encouraged to use mobile
phones behind the wheel.

"Drivers also need to be aware that making or receiving phone calls or texting, even if they are not using a hand-held phone, still affects their driving and they could still be prosecuted for not being in proper control of the vehicle," he added.