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IBM Technology Gives New Hondas a Voice

Embedded ViaVoice Powers Navigation System

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SOMERS, N.Y. - 29 Jul 2002: IBM today announced it has provided enhanced voice recognition technology for a revolutionary new navigation system that will be a feature in select 2003 model Honda Accords.

With this system, drivers can ask for directions and hear responses over the existing car audio system, allowing them to easily and efficiently reach their destinations without having to look at maps or stop and ask for directions.

The new Accord, completely redesigned, will include the "Touch by Voice" navigation system powered by IBM's Embedded ViaVoice technology and software developed jointly by IBM and Honda R&D. This latest in a series of deals for IBM in pervasive computing and Telematics represents IBM's ongoing commitment to deliver products that meet customer expectations in a wireless world. The new system has a vocabulary of approximately 150 English-language commands and can recognize a range of accents.

To get directions, the driver uses the "talk" button, located on the steering wheel. The system can recognize commands such as "find nearest gas station," "find nearest ATM" or "find nearest Italian restaurant." It also provides driving directions to and from any specified address or location.

The technology is integrated into the car's audio system, so driving instructions can be heard over the speakers. The Touch by Voice human voice recognition system is designed to minimize need for keyboard entry. The system also links to climate control systems for added driver convenience.

The Honda Accord, one of the best-selling cars in America over the past 10 years, is all new for the 2003 model year and adds new style, performance and sophistication to the lineup. The new Accords are due to begin reaching Honda dealerships Sept. 9.

"With this system, drivers can gain access to a range of services without taking their hands off the wheel," said Robert Bienenfeld, senior manager of product planning for American Honda. "It's more advanced than anything else in the market today. IBM has over 25 years of experience in voice recognition technology, and we're delighted to be working with the forerunners in this area."

IBM Embedded ViaVoice delivers IBM speech technology to mobile devices such as smart phones, handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs), and automobile components. It supports a variety of real-time operating systems and microprocessors. The Touch by Voice system uses IBM speech technology in its command and control form of Automatic Speech Recognition that uses human speech to input commands into a mobile device. In other applications, IBM speech technology also operates in text-to-speech mode, using synthesized human speech to output text and other information from a mobile device.

"With Telematics, the car becomes part of the seamless user environment. We estimate that this sector generated US$7.2billion in telematics service and equipment revenues in the US, W. Europe and Japan in 2001, and by 2007 is expected to reach over US$23billion for Terminals shipments and services combined," said Joanne Downie, Director of Strategy Analytics In-vehicle Telematics and Multimedia Service."

"Computing is entering a phase that goes beyond the PC and into devices and places not normally associated with heavy computing power. This innovative navigation system, jointly developed by Honda and IBM, is just one example of how IBM works with our industry partners to push the envelope in the emerging area of pervasive, wireless and mobile computing, " said Raj Desai, Director, Global Automotive and Telematics Solutions.

"IBM is helping companies in the petroleum, insurance, telecommunications, heavy equipment and transportation companies, as well as governments around the world, take advantage of the new capabilities Telematics technologies offer. From hardware to software solutions to consulting expertise that can align business processes for greater efficiency and profitability, IBM is helping world-class customers like Honda break new ground."

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