Ford's Sync makes it easy to bring music or other materials into cars and trucks, then manages the content using voice commands. Microsoft got most of the attention when Ford touted voice control as a way to reduce driver distraction while still letting drivers do many tasks. But there's also hardware in the radio head end. Freescale's 400 MHz version i.MX31 multimedia applications processor provides the USB connectivity while also handling tasks such as running the Microsoft operating system, performing audio signal processing for hands-free phone operation and processing voice recognition software.
Unlike industrial robots, which suffered a slight overall slump in 2012, service robots continue to be increasingly in demand. The majority are used for defense, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and agriculture, such as milking robots.
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