An Overview of Apple's Eyes Free for Cars

By David Thomas  on June 17, 2012

We learned last week of not only Apple's new Maps application for the next iPhone operating system (iOS 6) but also a feature called Eyes Free. While the Maps app is familiar — we tested it last week — Eyes Free is all-new and hasn’t been widely described.

Today, Car & Driver is reporting on the system's basic workings after interviewing engineers at Chevrolet and Mercedes-Benz.

The car magazine discovered what we had guessed that the automakers will update their software so currently installed voice-activation buttons — used for navigation and other functions like music search — will work with iOS 6 and new versions of Siri, Apple's voice-activation software.

"Once the car and phone are running the correct software and paired over Bluetooth, the actual hardware interaction is fairly simple: The driver presses the voice-command button — usually located on the steering wheel to allow for "eyes-free" operation — and receives the normal Siri prompt over the car's stereo speakers. The button press will have to be different from the normal momentary tap that brings up control of built-in systems such as navigation."

Siri Integration Explained: How Apple's Eyes Free Feature Will Work (Car & Driver) Tests New iPhone Maps App in a Mercedes-Benz SL550
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Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David