After experiencing problems with a number of high-profile in-car infotainment systems, we’ve long wondered why automotive brands don’t just use Apple’s Siri. It would solve all of the hands-free problems that were supposed to be distractionless, but became more of a distraction anyway.
Finally, one brand has done just that–Chevrolet–and its done so on its smallest and least expensive cars, the cars that are most accessible to young, connected drivers.
Siri Eyes Free will bow on the 2013 Spark and Sonic using Chevy’s MyLink, and it will allow drivers to place calls, enter destinations, browse media, play music, and control other functions just by talking naturally to it. According to Chevy, there will be no key phrases to remember, and no need to look at a screen.
Siri Eyes Free will integrate compatible iOS 6 software into Chevy’s MyLink system to:
- Make voice-activated, hands-free calls to Contacts on their iPhone
- Play songs in the iTunes library, and even switch music sources automatically from AM/FM/XM radio to iPod mode
- Listen to, and compose and send an iMessage or text message to a phone number or anyone in saved Contacts
- Access Calendar and add appointments
- Minimize distraction even more by keeping the screen of the iPhone from lighting up, even when Siri answers simple questions such as game scores or the dates of national holidays
- Note: while in Eyes Free mode, Siri will not provide answers to complex questions that require displaying a web page.
“It says a lot about our commitment to small-car customers that Chevrolet has announced that Siri Eyes Free capability will be available in the Spark and Sonic well before the luxury brands,” said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet marketing director for small cars. “Safe, easy, reliable and portable connectivity is a top priority for our customers, and Siri complements MyLink’s existing capabilities to help deliver an incredible driving experience.”
It won’t have Siri to begin with, but the next-generation of MyLink is a big deal, too. Despite its introduction next spring in the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, the next version of MyLink promises to be incredibly intuitive, in fact, as usable as a smartphone or tablet, with a layout that has large, easy-to-read icons. On the optional eight-inch screen, customers can fling through lists, swipe and click and drag just as they would on a tablet, says Chevy.
“MyLink in the new Impala provides our customers with a total driver experience,” said Nina Mital, next-generation MyLink program manager. “With the natural voice recognition, it’s like having a conversation with your vehicle.”
Soon, it seems, all of our infotainment systems will be as easy to use as an iPad, and as smart as Siri. We can’t wait.