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Apple partners with car manufacturers to develop 'Eyes Free' Siri

Siri is coming to the iPad this fall, but is that all? As part of its Worldwide Developer Conference announcements on 11 June, Apple said its voice assistant will be added to a number of cars.

With its "Eyes Free" system, Apple said it is working with car manufacturers to integrate Siri into select voice control systems. Knight Rider's Kit come to life?

"Through the voice command button on your steering wheel, you'll be able to ask Siri questions without taking your eyes off the road," Apple said on its iOS 6 website.

To further avoid a distracted driving scenario, Apple said the screen on your iOS device will not light up when talking to Siri. "With the Eyes Free feature, ask Siri to call people, select and play music, hear and compose text messages, use Maps and get directions, read your notifications, find calendar information, add reminders and more," Apple said.

During its WWDC keynote, Apple's iOS chief, Scott Forstall, pointed to at least nine car manufacturers that will take advantage of Eyes Free, including BMW, General Motors, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda.

An image on the Apple website shows a driver in a BMW with a white iPhone attached to the centre console.

Eyes Free will presumably be able to tap into the upgraded Maps app that will also be a part of iOS 6. Apple plans to ditch the Google Maps app that currently comes pre-installed on iOS devices in favour of its own app. The update will include turn-by-turn navigation guides with spoken directions, as well as real-time traffic information, with alternate route suggestions.

Last year, amidst the controversy surrounding Apple's iOS location-tracking, Apple said it was collecting anonymous location information to create a "crowd-sourced traffic database" that will be part of a future "improved traffic service."