Speaking at the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars that were held this week in Michigan, Kristin Kolodge, J.D. Power's executive director of driver interaction and human machine interface, said that this year's Initial Quality Survey found that voice activation systems were the most common type of malfunction cited by new car buyers in the US.
According to Kolodge, 23 per cent of problems reported for the study related to in-car infotainment systems, and that one third of those issues were with the voice recognition system.
"Any way you slice it, that's a failing grade," Kolodge said. While systems found on smartphones, such as Siri on iPhone and Google Now on Android, tended to work better, she did concede that automotive systems have to deal with a cluttered audio environment filled with road and engine noise, as well as competing passenger conversations.
She continued that if voice recognition's failure rate was experienced in other parts of a car, it would be deemed unacceptable. Kolodge implored automakers "to get back to basics" and ensure that music, phone calls and sat-nav work properly before adding other functionality.
With Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay smartphone mirroring technologies set to appear in in-car entertainment systems over the next few years, Kolodge may — in a way — have her wish fulfilled. Large scaled adoption and acceptance of these two standards may see automakers off-loading the task of developing new infotainment system features to smartphone developers.