Firms map out voice navigation services
CHINA'S biggest digital map provider AutoNavi and Nuance Communications will cooperate in voice-enabled navigation services, the firms said in Beijing yesterday.
The cooperation will bring voice-enabled navigation to auto makers, navigation device providers and over 100 million users of AutoNavi map on mobile phones, according to Beijing-based AutoNavi. The company also provides default map services for Apple's iPhone and iPad in the Chinese mainland, which has more than 1 billion mobile phone users and where 20 million cars are sold annually, industry insiders said.
AutoNavi's upgraded map services featuring voice-enabled navigation functions based on Nuance's technology and Chinese language support will be available to global automotive and navigation device makers in the second quarter.
AutoNavi will rely on Nuance's technologies, which combine speech recognition with advanced natural language processing, to provide more accurate voice recognition and text-to-speech, like the Siri feature on iPhones.
"Nuance's automotive voice expertise and technologies will enable us to quickly innovate voice-enabled navigation services for a safer, smarter in-car experience in China," Yang Yongqi, AutoNavi's executive vice president of automotive business, said in a statement.
Nuance said its collaboration with AutoNavi will help Chinese drivers keep their "eyes on the road and hands on the wheel."
AutoNavi now provides navigation data to over 100 models from SAIC Motor, Changan, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Last week, Intel Corp also unveiled a cooperation deal with Nuance on similar voice technology on smartphones equipped with Intel's chips.
I can't believe they don't have voice for map direction? Nuance has been working with MapQuest since 2000. I use it all the time and it works great. Hopefully, Nuance didn't give it away. They need to start monetizing their technology.