November 9, 2006

DaimlerChrysler developing rapid speech input system

Stuttgart, Germany – DaimlerChrysler reports that its researchers are developing a rapid, easy-to-operate speech input system for specifying navigation destinations. Called “information refinement”, the new method is oriented toward human speech and makes dialogue with the navigation system as natural as possible.

The German researchers are working with the difficulty of 74,000 cities and 970,000 streets in Germany alone; of these, more than 58,000 city names and 338,000 street names require differentiation, since, for example, there are 29 different towns named Neustadt. The system must also be able to distinguish between similarly-sounding words such as Berlin and Bellin.

The intelligent strategy for the clarification of destinations uses a step-by-step process, starting with essential components such as city and street, and pinpointing definitive confirmation of the destination, such as naming a nearby river. The computer must be programmed for the expected level of knowledge of the driver, combined with various approaches to resolving any ambiguities. The new speech input system has been tested in the laboratory, and compared with speech input systems used to date, the researchers have reduced the number of dialogue steps by 10 per cent, and the incidence of unsuccessful dialogues by half; even difficult, ambiguous cases have been limited to six steps at the most.

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