During their last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced a bevy of planned updates for its voice command application, Siri. One of those updates is called the “Eyes Free.” This would allow an iPhone or iPad user to initiate Siri without looking or picking it up. General Motors will be the first car manufacturer to support this new application mode, while Chevrolet Spark and Sonic will be the first vehicles to be compatible with Siri.
During the 2012 WWDC, General Motors is just one of the nine car makers that were announced to support the Siri Free Eyes functionality. This includes BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda.
Siri Eyes Free on GM Cars
According to GM Authority, Siri Eyes Free integration will debut in Chevrolet models in the near future. The automaker’s media representatives declined to elaborate on the matter, but an official statement should be expected within the next 12 months.
Siri Eyes Free will allow users to control their iPhone using their voice, while keeping their eyes on the road. They can call people, select and play music, hear and compose text messages, use Maps and get directions, read notifications, find calendar information, add reminders, and many more. Furthermore, the iPhone screen will stay off so it won’t distract the driver.
It was speculated that the feature will have a steering wheel button, probably to initiate Siri. It will then open the car’s Bluetooth microphone and feed the audio to Siri on the iPhone or iPad. As of the moment, Apple voice application can only be activated by picking up the device and holding down the home button.
However, it is unclear whether the Eyes Free will require Chevy MyLink infotainment or the MyColor Touch Radio experience. Nevertheless, it would be nice to see General Motors integrating a cutting-edge infotainment system and devices.
Siri Eyes Free is in line with the automaker’s strategy of letting smartphones to carry out the functionalities that it was engineered for, while enabling users to access it using the vehicle’s natural interfaces. In fact, this would keep the complexity out of the vehicle and allow GM to keep the costs down.
Ultimately, the voice app’s new functionality is the answer to the texting-while-driving issue. As soon as Eyes Free rolls out to all compatible cars, users will no longer need to physically pick up their iPhone or iPad to do what they need to do. A huge improvement in safety precautions, indeed.