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Dragon Drive! in-car voice tech helps drivers stay connected – safely

If you’ve ever driven along a highway and been overtaken by someone with their legs wrapped around the steering wheel, or worse, using their chin to steer instead of their hands, the chances are they’re trying to tap out an email on their smartphone. Of course, it would be a whole lot safer if the same task could be performed using only voice commands.

Nuance Communications, the team behind the popular Dragon range of voice recognition software, has been working on new Siri-like software that could make driving with body parts other than your hands a thing of the past.

The Massachusetts-based company has just announced details of new in-car voice recognition technology that will allow you to compose and send emails, as well as have incoming emails and stories from your favorite news site read aloud – all without taking your eyes off the road and your hands from the wheel.

Called Dragon Drive!, the technology will also enable motorists to operate the car’s music player, ask for and receive directions, and get information on local businesses.

The technology will be sold directly to car manufacturers, many of which are searching for ways to make vehicles more connected without compromising safety.

“As connectivity continues to push into the car, bringing with it a host of new services and features, the risk of driver distraction is becoming a key issue for every vehicle manufacturer,” Jack Bergquist, automotive analyst at IMS Research, said in a Nuance statement on the new technology. “Vehicle manufacturers are increasingly turning to natural voice-based interfaces to simplify more complex command tasks and to provide information and data back to the driver in a way that avoids them needing to take their eyes off the road.”

Of course, Nuance isn’t the first company to explore the idea of in-car voice technology. Vlingo InCar, an app available for some Android devices, claims to enable drivers to safely send and respond to emails, make phone calls and get directions while driving. Anyone had any luck with it? Or are you back to using your knees?

[Image: Lightpoet / Shutterstock]