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Do What I Tell You! Drivers Frustrated by Voice-Activated Gadgets

Call it a communications breakdown. If you’ve ever tried to use your car’s voice recognition system to dial a phone number only to have it change the radio station to a disco channel, you’re not alone. A new J.D. Power study reports that voice recognition has become the single largest source of complaints about new vehicles. And problems pairing smartphones to a vehicle’s Bluetooth system is the second most common problem, according to the J.D. Power 2014 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study. Virtually all new vehicles, from the luxury Mercedes-Benz S-Class, down to the Chevrolet Spark, rely on voice recognition for the increasing number of high-tech features. Built-in voice recognition systems are, if anything, appearing to get worse, the study said, generating 8.3 complaints for every 100 vehicles this year. Despite the complaints, however, a full 70% of new car buyers still say they want a car that can be programmed by voice.

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- Paul A. Eisenstein, The Detroit Bureau

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