Design & Technology
One spoken word is all you need! Voice-controlled UVO June 25th, 2010
By Multimedia Design Team
UVO is a world class infotainment system jointly developed with Microsoft. ‘UVO’ stands for ‘Your Voice’ and development of this system began in 2008 under the project name ‘Bristol’.
With earlier audio systems, software development was integrated with audio development. In contrast, UVO is based on the Windows CE Operating System and designed to support the addition of new applications. This means users can enjoy the latest functions by downloading new software or getting upgrades as needed.
With fewer buttons than existing systems for sleek and high-end design, UVO is a computer inside the car. As the first audio system equipped with a 4.3-inch TFTLCD (480×272mm QWVGA) monitor, it provides enhanced readability. The Graphic User Interface (GUI) features the touch switch for greater user convenience.
The main feature of UVO is speech recognition. If the user says the word “Help”, for example, the system will introduce the user to voice commands for various modes (radio, media, jukebox) and other functions offered by UVO. Voice commands allow drivers to control the audio system without taking their eyes off the road. For instance, let’s say a person is listening to the radio but wants to listen to a song titled “Without U” stored on a USB device. All he has to do is say “Play USB Without U” and the system will find and play the song.
The second feature is that MP3 files on an audio CD, MP3 CD and USB device can all be stored in the audio system. Earlier systems have to be linked to external devices such as an MP3 player or PMP (Portable Multimedia Player). UVO, though, comes with 1GB embedded memory. That is enough to support a virtual CD changer and download about 120 songs from an MP3 player. The songs are stored in the system’s jukebox, meaning the songs can be played without connecting the system to a CD or USB. The jukebox storage space is divided into ‘My music’ for MP3 files and ‘Virtual CD’ for files downloaded from audio CDs.
The third feature is the link to the rear view camera. Not available in earlier audio systems, this function allows the driver to see what’s behind the car when backing up. The fourth feature is the Bluetooth hands-free function. If the user registers his phone on the system, phone numbers saved in the phone will be automatically downloaded and calls can be made through voice recognition. If a text message arrives while driving, the driver can listen to the message via TTS (Text to Speech) software. The hands-free function promotes safe driving by allowing drivers to use their cell phones while keeping their eyes on the road.
The fifth feature is digital iPod support. Audios on existing platforms require a separate cable for iPod connection. But with UVO, all you need is the cable that comes together with an iPod purchase. Songs on iPod can be played through voice commands.
The sixth feature has to do with the ID3 Tag, which can be used to search for songs and show album cover art. Like a computer, existing audios search through files and folders to find songs. However, UVO conducts searches using the ID3 tag in an MP3 file. This function was added as part of the localization strategy in North America where iPods are especially popular. The ID3 tag includes the name of a song, album, singer, composer and music genre. This information can be used to view the album cover of a song.
※ Editor’s note: UVO system is only currently available in the U.S.