Siri to make automobile debut on Chevy Spark, Sonic

Owners of Apple's iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 will be able to make voice-activated calls, compose messages, and more.

Siri's hands-free in a Chevy.
Siri will work hands-free in a Chevy. General Motors

Siri's full functionality is coming to two Chevrolet cars next year, General Motors announced today at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.

Siri will be available to customers who buy the Chevrolet Spark and Sonic. The virtual personal assistant connects wirelessly with the Chevy MyLink infotainment system and allows people with the iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 with iOS 6 to perform a host of Siri-related tasks.

According to Chevrolet, Siri will be available in Eyes Free mode, letting users make voice-activated calls, access their calendars, and listen to and compose text messages. However, Eyes Free mode won't allow Siri to answer "complex questions that require displaying a Web page." To further mitigate distraction, the iPhone screen won't light up when Siri is interacting with the user.

Apple announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June that automakers had signed up for Siri service, but stopped short of saying which cars would feature the technology and when it would be available. However, rumors had started swirling soon after that Chevrolet was going to be first to get the technology in its vehicles . It appears that might happen, depending on whether other automakers bundle Siri into their cars first.

Siri interacts with the cars' infotainment systems via Bluetooth. As Apple had promised when it first announced automobile integration, a special Siri button will be on the cars' steering wheel to allow for easy access to Siri.

GM stopped short of saying exactly when the Siri integration will be coming to its cars, but did promise that it will be available "early next year." The company didn't say whether the iPad would also work in the vehicles.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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