Voice Recognition Systems In Cars Suck And Are Terrible

If you spend an inordinate amount of time screaming people's names into your dashboard in an attempt to get your car's horrible voice recognition system to make a simple phone call, prepare to be vindicated.

Tomorrow, industry quality ratings giant J.D. Power is set to lay the smackdown (do people still say that?) on voice systems in cars. They're releasing a new report that will supposedly outline just how poor voice recognition is in automobiles, across the board, no matter whether the car is a Kia or a Mercedes.

From Automotive News:

"We plan to dig a lot deeper into this problem," warns Kristin Kolodge, J.D. Power executive director of driver interaction and human machine interface.

"We're seeing that customers are being alienated by these systems," Kolodge said, ahead of her Wednesday presentation. "Customers are telling us that it is causing them to regret buying the vehicle they just bought."

Autonews' Lindsay Chappell says these systems remain "as lousy as ever" 15 years after they started going into cars, and that even when you speak clearly and precisely, your instructions are often ignored outright or lead to the computer searching for pizza restaurants instead of what you wanted.

And you know what? He's so right. I have the privilege of driving new cars all the time for this website, and I'd say most of them come with voice input systems now; all of them are useless. I'll give them simple, loud commands like "Call home" or something, only to have it dial one of my crazier ex-girlfriends instead. Thanks for nothing, car!

Automakers have this vision for a "hands free future" where you can still use all your precious apps and phone functions when you're driving because they'll operate with your voice. They have a long way to go before that happens, if it ever does.

I can't wait to see what J.D. Power comes up with tomorrow.