There's a lot to like about the current BMW in-car control system, but the next version looks set to raise the bar yet further. Coming to all its models in September, BMW voice control will offer single-command input, enabling users to control in-car navigation and music systems using a single, natural language command.
The idea is, unsurprisingly, to ensure "largely intuitive operation of numerous vehicle and comfort functions, with the driver hardly having to take his eyes off the road. Hence, the driver is able to use the navigation and entertainment systems in his BMW quickly and efficiently, at the same time concentrating entirely on driving conditions and the traffic around him." Or,her presumably. And by making it possible to use commands in 'natural language' the system should be less frustrating for the technophobic, too.
So, for example, when entering an address into the sat-nav, reading out the separate parts as prompted is no longer necessary as the entire string can be read out at once, the voice control system 'understanding' the speech. The same works for music playback, with artist, album and genre of music all selectable via voice command. Tracks on external media players will also be searchable as of spring 2010, but for now will still have to be played the old fashioned, manually selected way.
Doubtless BMW will charge an attractive coin or two for the privilege of adding its new voice control system to a car, but if you can afford a new car at all now, you may not mind the premium. There's always resale value to think about, too - not to mention voice control is just plain cool.