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DaimlerChrysler all ears
October 21, 1999: 4:04 p.m. ET

Scientists develop new speech recognition technology for drivers
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Scientists at DaimlerChrysler AG have added another chapter to the brave, new world of speech recognition technology, announcing Thursday they have developed a computerized voice recognition system able to comprehend human speech regardless of the speaker's accent or tone of voice.
     The system is able to respond independently to driver instructions and can interpret entire sentences without individual programming. According to the company, most current conventional speech recognition systems translate only individual words and numbers.
     Developed by the Daimler-Chrysler (DCX) research group in Ulm, Germany, the system is programmed to understand basic speech sounds known as phonemes, which all words are derived from. The English language, for example, is comprised of roughly 50 phonemes.
     The speech software takes spoken words and separates them into individual sounds. The computer records the frequency of the individual sounds and examines various phoneme combinations and, based on probability, determines the most appropriate word.
     The voice recognition system already has been installed in Mercedes C-Class, E-Class, S-Class and CLK coupes. Dubbed '"telematics," the emerging field of wireless telecommunication in cars includes additional applications under development by the company, such as telephone-access information centers, phone banking and unified messaging using a single software program.
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