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Issues with Sync and myFord Touch cost Ford dearly  (Source: Ford)
Ford wants Sync to eventually understand natural spoken commands and the intent of the user

Ford has found out the hard way over the recent months that one poorly received system in a car can create a massive backlash when it comes to consumer feedback in the important J.D. Power rankings for initial quality. Ford was sitting high in the fifth position last year. Fifth spot was the highest ranking for any non-luxury carmaker. This year Ford dropped like a rock to 23rd place.

J.D. Power says the blame lies partly with the new MyFord Touch system that attempted to take Sync one step further. The problem is that Sync originally had about 100 commands that it recognized and the driver could use. The new MyFord Touch system recognizes about 10,000 commands.

Ford and Nuance partnered for the voice recognition technology in Sync and the companies are working together to make the Sync and MyFord Touch system much easier to use by allowing it to recognize naturally spoken questions and the intent of the user.

This will let the driver ask a question to Sync any way they want and the system will do the legwork of turning the spoken query into a command that the system can execute. The goal is to get the system to the point where the driver can ask "Did the Tigers win last night" and the Sync system will understand the driver wants the score for the game and speak it back.

Ford lead voice control engineer Brigitte Richardson said, "It will recognize what you want or decipher the intent of what you want." She also said, "It will help people who can't determine the right command to use. It coaches you to get the information you need."

Ford has been working on this revamped version of Sync for over a year, however, the company points out that the system isn't ready for commercial use just yet.

Ford is also working on a side project looking at bringing voice-controlled fun to your drive. The project is called “Sync my Brain” and is a trivia game that uses voice commands. The game asks a question and offers multiple-choice answers to choose from. Ford's Nello Santori said, "It [Sync my Brain] is purely a research project. There is no production intent. We are looking at whether there is a place for something like this as we work to improve voice recognition."



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RE: Commands are not the problem
By Natch on 7/23/2011 11:00:20 AM , Rating: 2
Not only that, but it's also the problem that the more words a system has "learned" to recognize, the easier it is to confuse one with another. Similar to trying to teach English as a second language, and explain the difference between there, their and they're.

My Garmin GPS has voice recognition, and a couple times, in order to get it to understand me, I have had to resort to the old tried and true method of 'speak slower and eee-nun-cee-ate' the word it's having problems with recognizing. Usually works, but it's annoying to have to do that (and it's not as though I have a thick accent either).

Now imagine what a headache it is, to try to find a way to recognize different dialects and accents! Once you figure out one of them, you've only got a dozen more to master!!


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