A new hands-free telecom system from Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. and Honda Research and Development Co. would allow Honda drivers to check and respond to e-mail just by raising their voice. Aimed at minimizing driver distraction, the system, which will be tested next year, would rely on e-mail management software to prioritize and summarize messages. It could also send the driver and the person at the end of the connection an alert saying that the call might be interrupted, if the vehicle approaches a sharp curve or other hazardous driving conditions occur. The in-car system would use voice-recognition and voice-synthesis applications to access voice and Internet data networks. VoiceRex, the voice-recognition software developed by NTT Research Center, identifies talkers and adapts to surrounding noises; FinalFluent, the voice-synthesis engine, uses about 60,000 types of vocal fragments to produce a natural tone when reading data requested by the driver.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials