Siri Eyes-Free Coming to Chevrolet Spark and Sonic

Posted by: Kenny Chan onNovember 27th, 2012

This past summer Apple’s then VP of iOS Software Scott Forstall introduced to the world, Eyes Free, the Siri car integration. A dozen automakers were already lined up to offer Eyes Free in their latest vehicles and today Chevrolet announced from the Los Angeles Auto Show that early next year Siri will be integrated into the Chevrolet Spark (1LT, 2LT) and Sonic (LTZ and RS). Driver’s will be able to safely activate Siri by pressing a button mounted on the steering wheel.

Siri will be integrated through the vehicles’ standard Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system. With the feature named Eyes Free it comes as no surprise that as a way to minimize the risk of distracted drivers the iPhone screen will be prevented from turning on reducing the tendency for drivers to take their eyes off the road to look at the latest notification on the screen. Of course that also means Siri will be dumbed down slightly when in Eyes Free mode as she will not be able to provide any results that requires displaying something on the screen. The Eyes Free feature will require customers to have a compatible iPhone running iOS6.

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.”

I expect a huge wave of similar announcements from the other automakers if not at the LA Auto Show then perhaps early next year. Eyes Free will be coming to the new A-Class from Mercedes but sadly that will not be making it over to North America. No word yet on what North American bound Mercedes-Benz will get Eyes Free first but If I were a betting man, I’d say the refreshed E-Class will get it first.

Source: General Motors

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