How Siri Will Work in Cars

One of Siri's biggest draws is that a driver no longer has to look down at his phone and tap away at the keypad in order to use its capabilities. No more stumbling into potholes, mowing down small children and bashing into newspaper stands. Siri is there at your beck and call. This should allow drivers to focus on the task at hand (driving) and leave other tasks (responding to the Evite for Billy's backyard wrestling extravaganza, for instance) to their voice-activated passenger.

Carmakers like GM, Honda and BMW are working with Apple to develop Siri "Eyes Free," which will let users call on Siri by touching a button on the steering wheel. Originally announced by Apple in June 2012, most rough designs of the technology call for a system where drivers connect a Siri capable device through the car's dashboard, rather than buy cars with Siri already built in. That means accessing Siri via an "Eyes Free" app which can be downloaded to phones. Chevy Spark and Sonic owners, for example, can purchase a $50 app to power a full-featured, in-dash navigation system on their cars' big screen. One advantage of this approach is that the technology can be more easily updated than if it was built in [sources: Yvkoff, Albanesius, Woodyard].

Apple isn't the only player in the tech world looking for dashboard space. Nuance, the brains behind the technology that powers Siri, is also hocking voice-activated systems directly to automakers. Its Dragon Drive platform lets a driver use her voice to command the system to do things like send and read text messages and get directions [sources: Yvkoff].