Honda Gets Siri-ous About Distracted Driving

Sections: Car Safety, Infotainment

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The Apple iPhone's Siri Eyes Free Mode

The iPhone’s Siri works in Hands Free Mode aboard a BMW. Honda says its Accord as well as Acura ILX and RDX models will get Siri Hands Free Mode integration as a dealer-installed option available to those who have an iPhone running iOS 6 or later. (Photo courtesy Apple.)

Well, outgoing federal DOT chief Ray LaHood would be happy: Honda says some of its 2013 models will integrate support for Apple’s Siri digital assistant for owners who have compatible iPhones.

According to a press release from Honda, the integration support will be available on the 2013 Accord, as well as the 2013 Acura RDX and ILX models. It will be a dealer-installed option. To take advantage of the supported features, your iPhone needs to be running at least iOS 6.

American Honda Assistant Vice President of Automobile Product Planning Vicki Poponi said, “iPhone has become so integral to people’s lives that they continue to use them in their vehicles. Offering Honda and Acura owners Siri and its Eyes Free mode via Bluetooth is an incredible opportunity to provide next-generation connectivity and meet our customer’s ever-changing needs.”

According to Apple, makers of the iPhone and developers of the technology behind Siri, Eyes Free Mode works in concert with a vehicle’s existing voice control systems, allowing the driver to speak a command without having to look at the phone or press any buttons. To further minimize distraction, the phone’s screen does not light up when used in Eyes Free Mode. Available functions include asking Siri to call people, send a text message, find directions and use maps, read notifications, find calendar information, and even jot down reminders.

Honda’s press release fine print makes two important notes: First, your iPhone must have internet access– an important distinction from cellular service, but then again, if you’ve got an iPhone, you probably know this. Second, cellular data charges may apply. While Siri may be integrated with your Honda’s existing hands-free communications tools, she still works through your iPhone’s data plan, so you may wan to keep an eye on your data usage if you start to like your new secretary-cum-copilot.

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  • BT

    When will manufacturers be held responsible, in courts, for their ‘options’ causing or contributing to a crash and injury or death of another?

    • Lyndon Johnson

      About as soon as brewers are held responsible in court for their “products” causing or contributing to crashes and deaths caused by drunk drivers, I’d say. You can’t hold a product maker responsible for the product purchaser’s stupidity. The exception of course being when a manufacturer knowingly makes a dangerous product that can cause injury or death when used exactly as directed. Hard to imagine the day a court would rule against the automaker in this case, given these hands-free technologies are being developed in response to a problem (drivers who can’t be convinced to put down the @#$#@ phone) and also in response to government regulations requiring hands-free operation of mobile devices.