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New Study Proves Safety Benefits from Speech Recognition Use in Automobiles

July 11, 2008

BURLINGTON, MA & AACHEN, GERMANY – Nuance Communications, Inc., a supplier of speech and imaging solutions, has released the results of a 2008 In-Car Distraction Study, which measures the positive impact to safety and response times when people use speech recognition to control their in-car systems. The new study revealed significant benefits when drivers were able to use their voice to select music, input addresses in navigation systems, and dial the phone while driving, according to

Implemented by the Technical University of Braunschweig in Germany, the 2008 In-Car Distraction Study is based on the Lane-Change-Task (LCT) test, an International Standards Organization (ISO) certified test that exposed 30 drivers to a range of driving skills assessments, challenging each to drive while performing various common tasks within the car. The test simulated driving and changing lanes, all while simultaneously selecting music on an MP3 media player, making phone calls, and setting the address on a satellite-based navigation system.

The test included objective measurements on each of the drivers' ability to maintain a steady course and perform smooth and safe lane changes, and also measured their eye movements and awareness of their driving safety zone. The study also included subjective assessments by the observing scientist and the drivers themselves on safety and performance of the tasks.

The most significant finding of the 2008 In-Car Distraction Study is that speech-recognition significantly reduces distractions and improves driving performance while selecting music, making calls, and using navigation systems in the car. Further, the data shows that speech recognition, combined with Nuance's natural language understanding technology, delivers the most dramatic benefits in reducing distractions in the car. Natural language understanding enables speech interfaces to accept multiple variables in a single voice command, such as "Go to Broad Street, Philadelphia" versus responding to independent prompts for city, street, and street number.

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