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Cadillac XTS to Include the Voice of Someone Just Like Apple's Siri
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Cadillac XTS to Include the Voice of Someone Just Like Apple's Siri

July 03, 2012

  By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

If you've always longed to drive a Cadillac, chances are, you know what it contains that other cars don't. Leather seats. Check. Luxury with all-wheel drive. Check. Three hundred and fifty horsepower. Check. Apple's (News - Alert) Siri voice assistant. Wait...really?

Cadillac's XTS, introduced in January at the Detroit Auto Show, will reportedly offer a voice-response personal assistant, the type of technology that can use voice interaction to make appointments, find restaurants, provide reminders, send texts and e-mails, make phone calls and read messages. And the voice it will bear is mighty familiar.

Fast Company is reporting on a recent event at the Classic Car Club in lower Manhattan that saw engineers from Cadillac showing off the features of the 2013 XTS. During the event, an engineering manager at General Motors (News - Alert) plugged in his iPhone, tapped a button on the steering wheel, and commanded that a song be played. Inside the car, Siri complied. it seemed.

While it was no secret that Siri was going to be in the Cadillac XTS, it's a lot sooner than rumors would have had them – about a year sooner, said Fast Company. It wasn't all that long ago that Apple announced its planned integration between the iPhone (News - Alert), Siri and luxury auto brands. But hold on...apparently the voice in the Cadillac XTS is not really Siri. Not really, the engineering manager told Fast Company. But they are really, really close.

“Siri and the voice used by Cadillac's Cue telematics system are exactly the same,” writes Fast Company's Austin Carr. “That's because both companies--and many others--work with speech-recognition company Nuance (News - Alert) Communications, the $1.4 billion juggernaut that dominates the space.”

Ah, so that's it. But wouldn't you expect that this development would make the intensely protective-of-its-brand Apple a little squidgy? Carr theorizes that Apple may be getting concerned about its “sonic branding,” or voices that come a little too close to Siri that are all over the voice-interaction marketplace, particularly now that a number of other luxury car companies such as Mercedes and BMW are using a strikingly similar voice in their personal assistants...all technology provided by Nuance.

Carr says it may shake up the way Nuance provides voices for personal assistants in the future. As each company will want its own “sonic branding” with a signature voice, Nuance may cease licensing its technology to other companies and may instead begin to “sell voices” to brands, ensuring exclusivity.

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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