QNX-equipped Porsche picks up a few new tricks with AT&T's Watson

Posted by Shane McGlaun

We recently discussed a Porsche 911 convertible that was fully equipped with RIM QNX technology.

The platform - showcased at CES 2012 - was highly integrated with RIM's upcoming line of BlackBerry smartphones, although it supposedly works with with other handsets as well.

Essentially, the QNX system fits the vehicle with a touchscreen for instrumentation and contactless NFC chips to automatically synchronize a smartphone when a driver enters the vehicle. Personally, I find the platform to be somewhat interesting, particularly the custom dash gauges.

But RIM has taken the rapidly evolving technology a step further by adding a new feature.
Indeed, the QNX equipped Porsche now features AT&T's Watson technology, thanks to the new Watson Speech API.

The system reminds me somewhat of Ford's Sync and MyFord Touch which has actually been around for a while. From looking at the video posted above, it appears that Porsche QNX is also saddled with some of the same issues and drawbacks as Ford's system.

The video shows the system in action as the driver presses a button and tells the QNX system what to do. Using the connectivity from the driver's smartphone the system accesses the cloud, locates nearby restaurants, and then routes the driver using the vehicle's navigation system via voice commands.

Although the QNX system is also capable of smoothly streaming online video, I'd be surprised if car safety advocates allowed this particular feature to remain functional.

Frankly, the problem I've always had with this sort of voice activation system is that it typically doesn't handle accents all that well. I don't have a thick southern accent, yet more often than not Ford's Sync  forces me to repeat and carefully enunciate commands. I suspect the QNX system will have similar issues, although RIM will hopefully equip their version with a more advanced algorithm.