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Chevy is First to Offer Siri Eyes-Free; Integrates MyLink with iOS6-based Devices

2013 February 14
by Dan Miller

There. That wasn’t so hard, right?

As early as next month, GM’s Chevy division will roll-out versions of its Spark and Sonic models that enable drivers with iPhones to continue to interact with Siri’s familiar voice and favorite functions while safely ensconced in the driver’s seat.

As explained in the video below, GM is the first to integrate Siri Eyes-Free mode with its home-grown MyLink automotive “infotainment” system. The combination of the two makes it possible for owners of compatible iPhones to use their voice to make hands-free calls to iPhone contacts, play songs from their iTunes libraries, listen to and compose SMS/text messages and iMessages, and access Calendar functions.

This approach uses Bluetooth to pair MyLink with the iPhone. Then uses “pass through voice rec technology” to enable drivers to invoke Siri by pressing a button on the steering wheel, rather than the home button on the iPhone. With this offering, Chevy is the first of a group of 9 global auto makers who announced support of Siri Eyes-Free when iOS6 was rolled out in June 2012. The others in list include BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda.

One of the important things that the Chevy spokesperson notes in the video is that “90% of Spark and Sonic owners have smartphones.” Taking an approach to the connected car that acknowledges each driver’s strong bond with his or her mobile phone is a requirement. When all is said and done, the phone stays with the individual at all times. Car makers are well-aware of that fact and the way that MyLink lets drivers access familiar Siri-based functions is definitely the way to go.

Now we just have to see how other Virtual Personal Assistants are accommodated through the same framework.

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