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IBM, Honda team on voice-driven car navigation

Companies, along with Zagat Survey, to offer oral directions based on voice commands to U.S. addresses, restaurants.

Honda will incorporate a car navigation system from IBM that is activated by voice commands--a first, according to the companies. Drivers can bark out an address, and the system will provide oral directions to the destination. Honda's system recognizes cities and addresses in the continental United States as well as restaurant names listed by Zagat Survey.

IBM, along with Microsoft and a few others, has promoted voice-powered applications for years, often with little success. In the past few years, however, companies have focused on inserting voice activation and recognition software into applications through which computers will only have to interpret quick, bursty voice commands. Since the shift, sales have begun to climb. Honda will offer the system as standard equipment on the 2005 Acura RL and as options the 2005 Acura MDX and 2005 Honda Odyssey.