KITT out your car with Fujitsu voice-controlled assistant

Fujitsu's prototype automotive voice command system is just like Knight Rider, with slightly more directions to restaurants and slightly less duffing up baddies.

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BARCELONA, Spain -- If you grew up watching Knight Rider, you've probably dreamed of a day you could talk to your car. Dream no more, fellow KITT fan, as Fujitsu's prototype voice assistant takes you where you want to go, without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes on the road.

It's just a prototype at the moment, but the idea is you press a button on the steering wheel and start chatting with your phone, mounted on the dashboard.

"I'm hungry," you declare, like a petulant child, and the system asks if you want to search for restaurants. It tells you the nearest eatery and gives you a list of options, and then you simply choose the one you fancy and directions are flashed straight to your sat-nav.

Having to press a button to start the process is a bit of a chore -- it would be smoother if you could simply wake the system by saying a keyword, such as, I don't know, "Hey KITT". I also had some problems with registering my commands, but that's probably more to do with the noise around us at busy trade show Mobile World Congress, where the system is being shown off this week. That, and my failure to stick to the scripted commands -- I kept asking the system to arm the flame thrower and switch to Super Pursuit Mode.

Fujitsu's voice-controlled driving assistant helps you get where you're going without taking your eyes off the roa--whoahlookoutforthattree! Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Voice technology is the next big thing as mobile technology connects our watches, our cars, our houses and our world to the Internet. Soon phones and other mobile devices will be yours to command just by saying the magic words, with the brains behind the technology somewhere between Siri and the Scarlett Johansson-toned personal assistant from the movie "Her".

For more cutting-edge voice technology, smartphones and more, check out our in-depth coverage of Mobile World Congress.

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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