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Ford, Nuance aim to make Sync more conversational

Ford, Nuance aim to make Sync more conversational

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Ford and Nuance have bolstered the voice recognition in its Sync in-cabin entertainment system to be more conversational and recognize more commands.

Ford and Nuance have bolstered the voice recognition in its Sync in-cabin entertainment system to be more conversational and recognize more commands.

Sync isn't up to the standards of the artificial intelligence powered KITT car in Knight Rider (right), but the second generation of Sync is a vast improvement over the first. On Thursday, Ford and Nuance said they have introduced 10,000 first-level commands, up from 100 in the first version. Now Sync will recognize commands like "Call Paul Degnars."

In addition, Samantha, the voice of Sync, will have more natural speech patterns and sound less like a computer. The next-generation of Sync will power MyFord Touch featured in the 2011 Ford Edge. To bolster the system, Nuance and Ford cooked up more direct commands, made navigation entries easier and allowed for direct tuning of radio stations, say Howard 100 on Sirius.

Sync's new voice recognition system uses the Nuance Unsupervised Speaker Adaptation technology.

Ford's plan is to make in-cabin car technology a differentiator to sell cars. The company is plotting apps for its ecosystem to enable the Internet at 70 mph.

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure