Society as we know it would seize to exist without communication. Communication happens between people, but lately a lot of developments also open up the possibilities to communicate with your electric vehicle, or even talk to it! So what's the deal and is it any good?
A first example here comes from Apple, which recently launched Siri for it's operating system. Though it is limited to the mobile platform iOS for now, many anticipate it will find its way to the computers as well. What it does is allow users to talk to their devices and give commands, dictate or ask questions. Examples are 'Call John', 'Where is the nearest restaurant?' or dictation of messages and notes. The other way around works also, users can ask Siri to read out messages for them, or instructions. Quite convenient for recipe instructions, or having stories being told to children. Though it is still in what Apple calls a 'beta' stage, it works remarkably well. A lot is expected from this development as Apple will likely improve it and integrate it into every device with their logo on it.
The next example comes from Ford, which has recently launched their 'Sync' technology. This allows basically the same 'Talk to your device'-services, though the device is in this case your car. Instructions are more geared toward vehicle use for obvious reasons. Perhaps the car in Knightrider is just around the corner?
Siri, the service from Apple
So what tasks can you delegate to your car by talking to it? Or is it just a nice way to pass time and go all philosophical behind the wheel, discussing the meaning of life, etc.? Examples I can think of are associated with the GPS to show your current location and plot the course to a destination: i.e. "Plot the shortest route to home". Or having your car park itself on command (while you go out and pay the meter for example). Or controlling the cruise control; "maintain this speed". Opening doors would be convenient when you have your hands full and can't reach for your keys; "Open the trunk".
Also a myriad of entertainment options come to mind, also inspired by the demonstration of Elon Musk where he shows off the Model S. You ask the car to play music, either by radio station of band name. But this could also be used to call people, setup messages (look at Apple's Siri), or read out messages or other texts for the driver.
All in all these are really great and inspiring developments which are likely to be pushed even further. The main aim will always have to be that such a function is of help or assistance to drivers. Having such speech technology that distracts the driver from its main task and responsibility is not a path forward. Though paired with autonomous driving vehicles, who knows. Can you say: "Turbo boost!"
The Model S from Tesla, a true beauty!