Today American Honda revealed what might a defining new feature for the future of the automotive industry.
If you’ve ever found the Bluetooth capabilities that most cars include nowadays to be lacking in any way, then you’re about to be one happy driver. At least, that’s the goal of a new deal that Honda has apparently struck with the tech-giant, Apple.
Apparently, Honda wants to bring the technological convenience of apples trademark Siri technology to two of their most popular vehicles, the 2013 Honda Accord and the Acura RDX and ILX. Chevrolet is the only other manufacturer to make use of this technology, but I’m willing to bet that Honda will do a much better job of integration than they did.
According to Vicki Poponi, assistant VP of automobile product planning for American Honda, “iPhone has become so integral to people’s lives that they continue to use them in their vehicles.” As you might expect, the new technology – officially SiriTM Eyes Free – is designed to take “hands-free functionality even further and minimize distractions even more,” according to the press release.
In other words, iPhone owners (basically everyone) can finally look at the road in front of them, but STILL play with their phones. Poponi goes on to say that Siri integration “is an incredible opportunity to provide next-generation connectivity and meet our customers ever-changing needs.”
You might be wondering how Honda plans to integrate such a powerful feature with cars that are already being sold. It’s actually surprisingly easy since the cars that Eyes Free will first be featured on already include an on-board mic and speakers. When released, Accord and RDX/ILX owners need only to visit their local dealer in order to have the new technology – which is really just an extensive software update – installed into their vehicles. Then, Siri will be available by pressing the Bluetooth button already present in the steering wheel.
Unsurprisingly, Honda plans to keep a very close eye on what customer’s like and dislike about this new update. It may seem insignificant to some, but my guess is that voice commands are going to be the “next big thing” in automotive tech features. I can’t think of a reason that every customer with an iPhone wouldn’t want Siri integration, and if Honda is as successful with Eyes Free as they’re likely to be, then chances are we’re going to see other Japanese brands jump on the Apple-product bandwagon in the near future.
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