Hands-Free Texting – Car Pro News

The 2013 Ram 1500 pickup will be the first American-built vehicle to offer hands-free voice responses to text messages.
“We would like people to put their phones away and drive,” said Joni Christensen, Chrysler Group’s head of marketing for its UConnect mobile telecommunication systems.
The new pickup uses a computer-generated voice to read received text messages aloud. Connecting to a separate “cloud-based” server, the driver can then vocally dictate a response.
The message is voiced back to the driver and, upon vocal approval, it is sent through a Bluetooth-connected cellphone as text.
“We know that although it is dangerous and illegal in many states, people are still pulling out their cellphones while driving to text message,” Christensen said.
“Some, especially young people we call ‘screen-agers,’ actually don’t talk on their phones as much as they communicate through text,” he said.
“This is a generation that does not know life without the Internet, but this is technology that can make using cellphones safer.”
The new texting capabilities were announced when the extensively redesigned pickup was introduced to the motoring press in Nashville, Tenn.
Chrysler’s system receives only Android and BlackBerry smartphone text messages. It isn’t compatible with Apple iPhone.
Others, including Audi, Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai and Nissan, allow text message reception that can be read to the driver by a computer-generated voice through an audio system. A reply with these systems comes only from a list of pre-programmed choices like, “Yes,” “No” and “I’m driving right now. I will get back to you later.”
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called distracted driving an “epidemic.”
More than 3,000 fatal crashes, one of every 10 in 2010, were attributed to distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which estimates those who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be in an accident.
“Our youngest and most inexperienced drivers are often the most at risk,” LaHood said in a statement this week announcing the government has expanded its nationwide “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks” advertising campaign.
Television commercials using the cast of the popular television show “Glee” have been added to the campaign.


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