Engadget notes that the latest version of Dragon Mobile Assistant now detects when you’re in a moving car and automatically switches to hands-free mode, where all interaction is by voice alone.

Driver Mode relies solely on voice recognition and feedback, keeping your focus on the road. Accordingly, the upgrade builds in spoken notifications for inbound calls, messages, upcoming meetings and Facebook updates. There’s also voice-aware email and customizable wake up commands … 

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Care is still required, however, a recent study by the University of Utah (via Science Daily) showing that the distraction of using smartphone functions even in hands-free mode can still prove dangerous.

The research found that as mental workload and distractions increase, reaction time slows, brain function is compromised, drivers scan the road less and miss visual cues, potentially resulting in drivers not seeing items right in front of them including stop signs and pedestrians.

Probably best to keep the non-essentials, like Facebook, unchecked.

Dragon Mobile Assistant is one of a number of apps to offer voice control of an Android phone, the best-known being Samsung’s built-in S-Voice.

The full Dragon press release can be found below.

Dragon Mobile Assistant Expands with Intelligent Driver Mode

Automatically Switches to Driver Mode in a Moving Car; Adds Customizable Wake-Up Word and Voice Notifications for Facebook, Texts, Calls and Appointments

Burlington, Mass. – June 18, 2013 – Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) today announced that its Dragon Mobile Assistant app for Android is updated with new proactive assistant features, including an intelligent hands-free Driver Mode, voice notifications and the ability to customize Dragon’s wake-up word.

Dragon already keeps people organized, productive and connected with some of the most unique personal assistant capabilities available, including Friend Finder location sharing, proactive conference call dialing and more. And now, Dragon knows when users are in a moving vehicle and can automatically switch over to hands-free, eyes-free Driver Mode, keeping people connected in a safer, smarter way. Driver Mode leverages Dragon’s powerful voice recognition and expressive text to speech to give people full command and control over Dragon without having to take their hands off the wheel to touch the device or take their eyes off the road to look at the screen.

Dragon has new features that also make it an even more personal experience, including Voice Notifications that can read aloud Facebook status updates, messages, incoming calls, and upcoming appointments. And now you can choose how you wake up your Dragon with a customizable wake-up word. So whether it’s “Hi Dragon”, “Hey Dude,” or “Hello Dolly,” Dragon is ready to respond and deliver. And last but certainly not least, Dragon now also supports voice-enabled email.

“Dragon aspires to be an incredibly reliable and intuitive mobile personal assistant, not only responding to commands and providing relevant content, but also anticipating people’s needs in the moment-just like a true personal assistant,” said Michael Thompson, executive vice president and general manager, Nuance Mobile. “Dragon’s truly conversational nature and expansive directed search capabilities give people an assistant with purpose, content and information from the content providers they trust the most-leveraging a broad ecosystem without boundaries.”

Availability

Dragon leverages Nuance’s renowned voice, language understanding, ambient intelligence and expressive text-to-speech to deliver a smarter personal assistant that listens, interprets and delivers a more intuitive and connected experience. Dragon is available for free in English on Google Play in the US, supporting Android 2.3 and above.

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