The German carmaker BMW has unveiled a "talking car" to help the driver communicate more effectively with his vehicle so as to avoid traffic jams.
The carmaker was displayed at the German computer fair Cebit in Hanover recently, a BMW 3-Series convertible fitted with the auto dialogue system TALK.
The onboard computer system is fed with traffic information selected from 10,000 detectors monitoring around the clock the traffic situation along the German motorways.
TALK picks the information required for a specific route from a central computer, offering the driver an alternative route if necessary.
According to BMW, German motorists spend on average 70 hours per year in traffic jams with a rising tendency because of growing traffic density.
Radio traffic information is only of limited help because it often reaches the motorist too late. The TALK system, which is also a Europe-wide research project, is much faster as it can also be transmitted over the car cell phone, according to BMW.
Since March this year BMW is offering in Germany a navigation system in cooperation with Google Maps. Company addresses or telephone numbers are sent directly to the car navigation system via the Google website.