It’s not the mythical iCar, but it’ll suffice for drivers who have long dreamed of talking to their car. General Motors (GM) announced on Tuesday at the Los Angeles International Auto Show it will be the first of nine automakers to integrate Apple’s (AAPL) “Eyes Free” feature that adds one-button Siri functionality from the car’s steering wheel. The first cars with Siri integration will be the Chevrolet Sonic LTZ and RS as well as the Spark 1LT and 2LT.
The company’s press release states that an iPhone with iOS 6 is required and the feature works by pairing the iPhone over Bluetooth through the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system. Once paired, drivers can make hands-free calls, play music from iTunes, switch between the car’s AM/FM/XM radio modes, send iMessages or text messages, view calendars and make appointments, and answer “simple questions such as game scores or the dates of the national holidays.”
What Siri won’t be able to do is “provide answers to complex questions that require displaying a web page” because doing so would be too distracting, according to GM. The new Siri-connectable cars will be available starting next year.
GM’s press release follows below.
Chevrolet Spark and Sonic Drive with Siri
LOS ANGELES – Early next year, the Chevrolet Spark (1LT, 2LT) and Sonic LTZ and RS will integrate Siri, the intelligent assistant that helps get things done just by asking. Chevrolet made the announcement today at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.
Through the cars’ standard Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, customers with a compatibleiPhone* running iOS 6 can direct Siri to perform a number of tasks while they safely keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel. To further minimize distraction, Siri takes hands-free functionality even further with an Eyes Free mode that enables users to interact with their iPhone using nothing more than their voice while keeping the device’s screen from lighting up.
Owners 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.
In the Spark and Sonic RS, owners can use Siri in Eyes Free mode to:
- Make voice-activated, hands-free calls to Contacts on their iPhone
- Play songs in the iTunes library, and even 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
- Minimize distraction even more by keeping the screen of the iPhone from lighting up, even when Siri answers simple questions such as game scores or the dates of national holidays
- 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. “Safe, easy, reliable and portable connectivity is a top priority for our customers, and Siri complements MyLink’s existing capabilities to help deliver an incredible driving experience.”
Both the Spark and the Sonic also come with six months of OnStar’s premium Directions and Connections service. OnStar brings added safety, security and connectivity to these vehicles, including services such as Automatic Crash Response, Stolen Vehicle Assistance, Vehicle Diagnostics and Roadside Assistance.
Most smartphone owners can also download the RemoteLink Mobile App, which allows OnStar subscribers to control and manage certain vehicle functions from their phone. For more information on OnStar’s services, visit onstar.com.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.