Apple launches iPhone voice control for drivers

FRANKFURT, March 3 Mon Mar 3, 2014 5:42am EST

FRANKFURT, March 3 (Reuters) - Apple makes its next move in hands-free smartphone technology for car drivers when it unveils a new, integrated iPhone voice-control system at the Geneva Motor Show this week.

The U.S. company's CarPlay makes its debut in Ferrari , Mercedes-Benz and Volvo vehicles at the show, demonstrating the software system that allows drivers to control their iPhones via touch and voice, Apple said on Monday.

Carmakers have already enabled some access to smartphones via bluetooth technology, but Apple's latest offering aims to integrate iPhone functionality more seamlessly with dashboard-mounted display and speaker systems.

CarPlay enables drivers to access to contacts stored on the iPhone, make calls, return missed calls or listen to voicemails without taking their hands from the steering wheel.

Drivers can also use maps, listen to music and access messages "with just a word or a touch", Apple said. Drivers will also be able to read messages and dictate responses via Apple's voice-activated Siri software.

Apple said that CarPlay will also be available in cars from manufacturers including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, PSA Peugeot Citro├źn, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp.