At TFL, our go-to test for a vehicle’s Voice Command system and Navigation is to ask it to take us to lunch at Snarf’s Sandwiches in Boulder. The name is challenging for systems to decipher, and the range of voices amongst the TFL crew from André Russian accent to Nathan’s SoCal drawl result in some systems doing better than others. The ultimate goal is to find the set up that allows us to simply say, “Take me to/Go to/Find Snarf’s,” and have it serve up the correct address just as it would if we were speaking to Alexa or Siri or Google Now.
Except for the Chevy, all the vehicles were equipped with on-board navigation. Each was given a Pass or Fail grade no matter how many steps were involved to get to a successful result.
Voice Command Fails
The Understood, Voice Command Winners
Audi Q3 – The clear winner. Press one button, say “Find Snarf’s” and that’s it.
Chevy Equinox* – While the vehicle didn’t have navigation, it did have OnStar available. We pressed the button, spoke to a live person who found Snarf’s and then sent the turn-by-turn instructions to the vehicle.
Trucks That Wouldn’t Do as Told
Does CarPlay and Android Auto Make This Test Irrelevant?
With the advent of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto being integrated into more and more vehicles, will there even be a need for OEM nav system integration? Both mobile systems’ voice commands will work through a vehicle’s voice command system. Plus they usually work faster and more reliably than manufacturers’ systems. And even bigger plus, there’s no upcharge like there is for getting a navigation system on a vehicle.
Let us know what you think in the comments. And definitely share your experiences with any voice command systems not on our list above.