Ford tech lets you text behind the wheel
Ford doesn't think that the best way to crack down on the huge (and rising) danger of text driving is to simply tell people to stop it. Instead, the company has come up with a text-to-speech system, so drivers never need go without a text.
Ford's own study suggests that one third of UK drivers admit to texting behind the wheel, while 95% of drivers agree it's dangerous. The other five percent are either [insert your own name here], or didn't understand why they were being quizzed about Teletext.
The study was commissioned to justify the introduction of Ford's new software, which is due to debut in the new Ford B-Max small MPV. It'll later feature in the Focus and Kuga, and is part of the Ford SYNC package that focuses on in-car phone and internet connectivity, and safety.
"Text messages can be a distraction for drivers, so the benefit of a system that can read messages aloud from compatible smartphones is obvious," said Christof Kellerwessel, a Ford engineering boss.
As well as hearing a text message read aloud on the go, the system allows drivers to send a text message by picking from a series of voice activated, pre-written templates.
Speech-to-text responses is not possible; anyone who's dabbled in speech recognition software will be well aware of its frustrations, and its detrimental effect on clear thinking.
Sadly it only works with BlackBerrys for the time being, although Ford is looking to standardise it so that iPhone users can have a go too.
Or, we could all just practice some patience and check our text messages after driving. When was anything actually urgent ever communicated by text?