Just this week, Chevrolet announced the integration of Siri with upcoming Spark 1LT and 2LT models and Sonic LTZ and RS models. Siri, the virtual assistant that has been helping iPhone users with hands-free tasks since late last year will soon be integrated with these vehicles through their MyLink infotainment system. The Siri-enabled automobiles will be available to the public early next year. Using pass through voice recognition through the vehicle’s MyLink infotainment system, Siri will be controlled both hands-free and eyes-free through the driver’s voice after one touch of a steering wheel button.
Drivers can pair their iPhone with the MyLink system through Bluetooth connection or the phone's charging cable, press the activation button on their steering wheel, and begin using Siri for tasks such as making phone calls, choosing songs, artists, or playlists from their iTunes library (stored on their iPhone), managing text or iMessages, or checking their calendars. While operating in eyes-free mode Siri will not attempt to provide answers to complex questions that require internet connectivity, but will advise the driver to pull over to the side of the road to access the internet.
Chris Perry, Vice President of Global Marketing for Chevy, says the decision to begin working with LG to make this this service first available to owners of the Spark and Sonic was made because the young customers who are buying these cars are very connected to their smartphones. “Apple seems to be the most popular [brand] right now, and it’s what customers were asking for.” Chris also mentioned that Chevy's focus is getting phones out of driver's hands for a safer driving experience. Siri provides a completely eyes-free experience for drivers, which is important because distracted driving is becoming more prevalent as society relies on their smartphones for constant connection.
Because Siri uses pass through voice recognition and isn’t actually a part of the vehicle, this component of the infotainment system will automatically update whenever users update their smartphones. For navigation users, this means no more expensive navigation map CD updates every few years. Users can now have in-car access to these new maps as soon as they are released through the App Store.
Though bringing Siri to vehicles is a new concept, GM has been bringing vehicle information to smartphone users for over a year now with the OnStar RemoteLink mobile app. RemoteLink keeps vehicle owners advised of tire pressure, oil levels, fuel levels, and several other features right from their phone.
General Motors is first to reveal this technology, but auto technology enthusiasts speculate that other auto and cellular phone manufacturers are sure to follow within the year.