Back in June, we told you that Apple's digital 'personal assistant', Siri was coming to cars. Or, more specifically, that Apple was set to take on Microsoft in the burgeoning business of in-car connectivity.
General Motors announced at the Los Angeles International Auto Show that it's ready to adopt Siri. Early next year, Chevrolet will integrate access to Siri in its Spark (1LT, 2LT) and Sonic LTZ and RS models.
Through the cars’ standard Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, drivers with a compatible Apple iPhone running iOS 6 can direct Siri to perform a number of tasks while they keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
To further minimize distraction, Siri offers an Eyes Free mode that enables users to interact with their iPhone by voice while keeping the device’s screen from lighting up.
Users simply connect their iPhone with the MyLink radio via Bluetooth, pair with the system, and use the steering wheel voice activation button to begin and end sessions with Siri in Eyes Free mode.
Typical Eyes Free functions include the ability to:
- Make voice-activated, hands-free calls to Contacts on their iPhone
- Play songs in the iTunes library, and switch music sources automatically from AM/FM/XM radio to iPod mode
- Listen to and compose and send an iMessage or text message to a phone number or anyone in saved Contacts
- Access Calendar and add appointments
- Keep the screen of the iPhone from lighting up when Siri answers simple questions
While in Eyes Free mode, Siri will not provide answers to complex questions that require displaying a web page.
"It says a lot about our commitment to small-car customers that Chevrolet has announced that Siri Eyes Free capability will be available in the Spark and Sonic well before the luxury brands," said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet marketing director for small cars.
Siri is considered to be a complement to rather than an alternative for GM's OnStar service. OnStar brings such added safety features as Automatic Crash Response, Stolen Vehicle Assistance, Vehicle Diagnostics and Roadside Assistance.