February 2, 2013

Siri Gets A New Ride: The Acura RDX

When Apple announced Siri’s new “eyes-free” mode last summer, Scott Forstall was standing in front of a screen filled with logos of auto makers who supposedly were on-board to integrate Siri into future vehicles. Since then, Apple released Maps for iOS 6, Scott Forstall got canned, and only one of those automakers has made good on their promise to bring Siri to their line of automobiles.

Apparently, things move a little slower in the Motor City, as only GM has shown off their form of Siri integration in the very youth-friendly Spark and Sonic. You may recognize these cars from Michael Bay’s 2011 “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”

Today, Acura and Honda have announced that they’ll be bringing Siri’s Eyes Free capability to “select 2013 vehicles.”

These vehicles include the 2013 Honda Accord and Acura RDX and ILX models.

“iPhone has become so integral to people’s lives that they continue to use them in their vehicles,” said Vicki Poponi, the assistant vice president of automobile product planning at American Honda, in a statement.

“Offering Honda and Acura owners Siri and its Eyes Free mode via Bluetooth is an incredible opportunity to provide next-generation connectivity and meet our customer’s ever-changing needs.”

This news isn’t particularly all that exciting, considering that “Eyes Free” mode essentially just adds a hard-wired home button to your new car. Though incredibly handy, convenient and far safer than juggling your iPhone while driving, Eyes Free Mode simply allows users to tap a button (likely on the steering wheel) to speak to Siri through the car’s speaker set up.

In case you’ve forgotten, Siri can now send email and text messages, set reminders, schedule appointments, look up the weather forecast and even recall the score to last night’s game, all with the power of your voice.

This means she’ll be able to do all this and slightly more with Eyes Free Mode.

Personally, I use Siri in the car all the time, though with the help of a pair of headphones. I’m often told, however, (usually by my lovely wife) that wearing headphones in the car isn’t safe. It is nice, however, to be able to carry on conversations through text messages and select which songs to listen to all without having to take my eyes off the road, which I can only assume is exponentially more dangerous that wearing a pair of in-ears whilst driving.

With Acura, GM and Honda now on board the Eyes Free train, there remain seven more automakers to bring Siri into their product line.

Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz and Toyota have all been slated to work with Apple in this venture, yet none have made solid announcements about when they’ll deliver such a product.

Image Credit: Acura

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