AT&T aren't holding back on the news here at CES, today it's announced that it's leaping into bed with Panasonic and QNX to bring it's Watson speech-recognition technology to cars. Any cloud-connected car (it's happening, folks) that'll include the tech will respond to your voice commands to control your GPS or change channel when Rebecca Black starts playing on the radio. Initial testing of the tech is happening right now in Peachtree City, Georgia -- with Ma Bell providing the network and the others supplying the hardware. There's not too much more detail than that, but we can expect to see more of this in the coming months -- and we've got PR for you after the break.
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Voice-Enabled Virtual Assistant Designed to Limit Driver Distraction by Providing a Platform for Connected Vehicle Services

Group of High Tech Providers Will Invite Automotive Manufactures to Test Drive New Connected Solution

DALLAS, Jan. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A passenger who doesn't hesitate giving directions or providing weather updates is headed to a connected car near you, and this one won't slow the trip down by asking for a rest stop.

AT&T* today, within the Peachtree "Connected" City, GA collaboration framework with Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America along with QNX Software Systems Limited, announced plans to begin developing a connected, voice-enabled virtual assistant for use by automotive manufacturers. The technology will be backed by AT&T's patented WATSON(SM) speech engine, providing a complete cloud based voice-enabled natural language mobile virtual assistant solution for wirelessly connected vehicles.

AT&T WATSON(SM) is a multimodal and multilingual speech and language engine with best-in-class performance across a wide range of applications. The engine's flexible plug-in architecture enables quick-time-to-market innovations. AT&T has more than 500 speech-related patents that can process speech, text and gesture inputs for things such as placing and receiving calls, navigation and basic web browsing.

"Wireless innovations in the automotive space continue to expand and this is great news for consumers," said Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices, resale and partnerships, AT&T. "By rolling out this prototype, we're able to collaborate with companies and manufacturers to develop safer driving environments for customers."

A prototype is being developed that will demonstrate a connectivity strategy for automotive virtual assistance. The prototype will be used to develop a complete voice enabled mobile virtual assistant solution for the connected vehicles platform that is designed to limit driver distraction by focusing on customer needs and system interface usability to improve safety and comfort.

"User experiences that are natural and intuitive, that simplify access to mobile and cloud-based services, and that help drivers stay focused are key to consumer adoption of tomorrow's connected vehicles," said Derek Kuhn, vice president of sales and marketing, QNX Software Systems. "Cloud-based speech recognition provided by solutions like AT&T WATSON(SM) will help accelerate this adoption, by allowing users to interact with their vehicle in a natural way, using everyday language."

AT&T and Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America formed a working agreement in 2011 to explore and test connectivity solutions for consumers and commuters. The collaboration provides a framework for the two industry leaders to jointly create customized products for global automotive manufacturers in North America.

Initial concept testing for in-car infotainment systems and emerging mobile devices interface is taking place now in the Peachtree City testing community. AT&T provides network services and Panasonic Automotive Systems Company supply the hardware and integration services.

For the complete array of AT&T offerings, visit www.att.com.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.