What is Audi Dragon Drive

At the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi announced that it would be adding Dragon Drive to its new A8 flagship saloon. As with many other technologies, this will diffuse across the Audi range over the coming years. So what is Dragon Drive, and is it something to get excited about?

What is Dragon Drive?

Dragon Drive is the creation of voice recognition experts Nuance. If you’ve used voice recognition technology before – whether that’s Siri on your iPhone, Amazon Alexa or just an automated call service – you’ll know that it often doesn’t work as well as it’s supposed to. For Audi, that just wasn’t good enough.

How is Dragon Drive different?

Dragon Drive is designed to pick up on natural, conversation commands. In the past, you might have had to memorise specific commands for the car to recognise your instructions, or been in a specific menu to change related settings. Not so with Dragon Drive.

Click the steering wheel-mounted button to ensure it’s listening, and it will make suggestions based on anything you say. Announce “I’m cold”, for instance, and it will offer to set a more comfortable temperature.

How does it work?

Dragon Drive uses cloud-based speech recognition and text-to-speech conversion, meaning it’s always learning and improving its understanding of natural language. A8 drivers can access all connected services and information through natural speech.

What can I do with it?

You can change pretty much any setting, using natural speech, from any menu. The system is always ready to take on commands, no matter what menu or system you’re using at the time. For example, you can set the climate control in the navigation menu or your destination in the radio menu.

Why not:

• Access weather information (“What’s the weather like in London?”)

• Set a navigation route (“Plan a route to work.”)

• Locate points of interest (“I need fuel.”)

• Change the temperature (“It’s too hot in here.”)

• Access infotainment (“Put on Radio 4.”)

• Place a phone call (“Ring mum.”)

 Why is this important?

Our cars are increasingly computerised, with touchscreens and other distractions that seem, almost by design, to demand our attention. Dragon Drive is there to ensure you can keep your hands on the wheel (and eyes on the road) as much as possible. All of which helps to make driving as safe as possible.