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Phil Lunn :
Ford Enhances Safety and Convenience in New Models Using Nuance Speech Technology


Phil Lunn :
Integrated with the Innovative Ford Human Machine Interface, Nuance Speech Recognition and Text-To-Speech Enable Hands-Free Phone Dialing, Navigation Entry, Temperature Control and More

London, UK - November 28, 2007 – Nuance Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN), a leading provider of speech and imaging solutions, today announced that Ford Motor Company integrates Nuance speech technologies to provide drivers with unrivaled levels of safety and convenience when using the car’s phone, navigation and entertainment systems. Nuance VoCon® speech recognition and RealSpeakTM Text-to-Speech technologies will be available across Europe for the Ford C-MAX and Ford Focus starting in December, followed later by the Ford Galaxy, Ford Mondeo and Ford S-MAX.

Ford has won customer and industry accolades for its innovative Human Machine Interface, which helps drivers easily find their way round the car´s phone, cruise control and audio systems. The HMI-system in the new Ford models developed by the Bosch subsidiary Blaupunkt enables drivers to place calls, to enter an address to the navigation system, select the desired temperature, and control the audio system – all with a simple command by voice. The navigation solution allows drivers to enter their destination verbally being one of the most important features to increase safety and improve overall experience with a navigation system.

According to a market survey conducted by Maix Market Research amongst car buyers in Germany, USA and Japan in 2006, 41,2 % of the respondents stated that they frequently or occasionally place calls while driving, 20 % said that they read incoming SMS messages and 76,1 % said that they enter or change the destination in their navigation systems while driving. All of these actions are serious causes for driver distraction that can be reduced by using voice commands and text-to-speech.

“We recognize the importance of speech technology to make telematics, navigation and infotainment solutions safer and easier to control,” says Joachim Creutzburg, Marketing Director Original Equipment from Blaupunkt. “Not only do we offer our automotive customers the most advanced speech enabled solutions, our portable navigation solutions in the aftermarket also allow destination entry and control by voice.”

Powered by Nuance VoCon®, the industry’s leading embedded speech recognition software, the system increases safety by allowing the driver to keep his hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. In addition, Nuance’s RealSpeakTM text-to-speech software is used to convert text into remarkably high-quality speech for turn-by-turn directions of the navigation system including street names. The HMI-system with a Nuance speech-enabled user interface is fluent in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Specific features of the HMI-system powered by Nuance speech solutions include:

• Voice-activated destination entry: Drivers can simply say their destination address instead of having to type it on a keypad. The voice interface reads out all information including street names and traffic information.

• Voice-activated, hands-free calling: Drivers can simply press the “Push to Talk” button on the steering wheel, and then say the number or the previously enrolled name of the person to call.

• Voice-activated audio: With command and control of the audio system, drivers can select a radio station by speaking the frequency in natural numbers, e.g. “Frequency 87.5” or by saying a pre-enrolled name of the radio station. Drivers can also control the CD changer and CD/MP3-player by simply saying commands like “Play Track 5”, “Play next CD” or “Shuffle on”.

• Voice-activated climate control: With command and control of the climate system, drivers can decrease or increase the temperature by speaking commands such as warmer or cooler.

“Nuance has a long history of working with Ford”, said Steve Chambers, president, Mobile and Consumer Services Division at Nuance. “Now with the advanced speech technology in the Blaupunkt navigation solution, we are able to offer drivers a safer alternative to the drivers’ distraction created by the use of navigation systems in cars. With the voice user interface, powered by Nuance Automotive, drivers no longer need to take their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel to dial their phone, enter an address to the navigation system or control their audio system.”

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