| Tokyo, October
16, 2001 --- Nippon Telegram and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and Honda R&D
Co., Ltd. today announced that they have developed a "Next-generation Onboard
Infotainment System" that allows transmission and reception of telephone
calls and e-mail and other information to and from vehicles while driving,
without taking one's hands off the steering wheel.
NTT and Honda R&D have been collaborating with each other on this "Vehicle-network
telecommunications system" since last November, seeking to create a more
user-friendly system for use while driving, based on the latest technologies
developed exclusively by the two companies.
NTT's state-of-the-art network and human interface technologies, and Honda
R&D's advanced onboard infotainment technology are at the heart of the new
system, which aims to give the driver and passengers access to real-time
information anytime, anywhere.
The detailed features of the system are as follows:
||"Area-oriented Information Provision Service" -- supplies the most
appropriate information in accordance with the vehicle's location
and time of day.
||"Customized Information Retrieval Service" -- enables prompt collection
of the required information through a simplified operational procedure.
||"Driver's Mail Service" -- allows the driver to read and reply to
an e-mail while driving, without taking one's hands off the steering
||"Convenient Mobile Telephone Service"-- ensures telephone call reception
To support these services, NTT
and Honda R&D have also developed the following technologies:
||Information Provision Technology according to Vehicle Location and
||The vehicle communicates with the network to inform its location
each time the vehicle enters a new information provision area. The
information provision server on the network predicts the vehicle's
route based on the information forwarded by the onboard communication
The server then provides the vehicle with timely information, selected in
accordance with the current location and matching the driver's previously
The information provider enables customers to register their desired information
according to location and time of day for which information is desired.
As a result, the driver and passengers have easy access to very detailed
information on shops, restaurants and other services in the area in which
their vehicle is currently located, based on the time of day.
||Onboard HMI (Human-Machine Interface) Technology is a voice dialogue
technology that utilizes the network :
|| The dialogue system utilizes both vehicle and network, using voice
recognition and voice synthesis technologies to provide the driver
with more relaxed, easier operation.
Two technological innovations by NTT Research Center are adopted for the
voice recognition and synthesis technology for the network side. VoiceRex
*1, a voice recognition engine and FinalFluet
*2, a voice synthesis engine, both ensure that
when used in conjunction with each other, there is a high voice recognition
ratio even when using an ordinary telephone line, together with a voice
which is easily understood thanks to the natural intonation that the latter
Additionally, an integrated dialogue scenario at the network side enables
highly flexible communication.
||Information Management Technology According to the Driving Environment:
|| The system continuously predicts road conditions ahead and checks
the real-time driving environment.
When the vehicle is approaching a sharp curve while the telephone is in
use, the system informs both the driver and the person on the other end
of the line that there might be a temporary interruption in communication
until the vehicle resumes normal driving conditions.
Additionally, when an e-mail is delivered, regardless of driving conditions,
the system reads out only the important points of the e-mail, so as not
to distract the driver.
For text reading, the Intelligent BIFF *3 developed
by NTT Research Center is incorporated. It selectively extracts the important
sentences from the e-mail to facilitate an easy and convenient understanding
of the e-mail received.
Based on this newly developed system, the NTT-Honda R&D alliance plans to
continue further development of a series of new infotainment services with
harmonious vehicle-network communication, and aim at the development of
practical applications and testing starting from 2002.
||VoiceRex is a comprehensive software library that integrates several
functions including single and compound voice recognition of unspecified
talkers, identification of a talker, as well as adapting to surrounding
noises. The most important attribute in relation to the onboard information/telecommunication
system lies in its highly precise voice recognition ability that will
allow for a wide range of applications.
||FinalFluet is a text-based voice synthesis system. It generates
a high-quality and natural tone by using approximately 60,000 types
of vocal fragment.
||Intelligent BIFF is an e-mail management system that prioritizes
e-mails according to their contents and summarizes them prior to transmission.
(BIFF means a "Mail Arrival Notification Function".) The e-mail summarization
is ensured by the important sentence extraction technology, one of
many results of the natural language processing research programs
performed by NTT Research Center.
Next-generation Onboard Infotainment System
Key Technologies for Services