September 15, 2004

Volkswagen develops voice-controlled owner’s manual

Wolfsburg, Germany – Volkswagen has developed a prototype voice-controlled owners
manual that allows drivers to simply say their questions about the vehicle out loud.
They then receive information in pictures and sound without having to leaf or search
through a handbook.

The technology was developed using a combination of voice recognition,
telecommunications and Internet technology. Using voice-recognition software, the
driver’s instructions are analysed and forwarded via a mobile phone to a central
computer where the complete vehicle literature is stored. The requested information
is filtered there, sent to the vehicle and played back over speakers. Explanatory
pictures are also displayed. The data transfer only takes a few seconds.

In addition to a standard hands-free system, the driver needs an MDA (Mobile Digital
Assistant) with integrated telephone or a compatible smart phone to display the
graphical information. Using the chassis number, the system can identify the vehicle
and will know what equipment has been fitted in the car when providing answers. The
voice-controlled operating manual is also updated whenever the vehicle configuration
is changed.

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