Harman-owned JBL has unveiled its new ‘Link Drive’ at CES 2019 – a universal car accessory which brings Google Assistant to virtually any car.
The device – specifically engineered for automobiles – plugs into a 12V accessory port (cigarette lighter), allowing users to call upon Google Assistant without interacting with their phone.
Functions include asking Google Assistant to locate the nearest fuel station, query weather conditions, plus much more. The device can also read text messages.
Safety is enhanced via voice commands, keeping the driver’s eyes on the road, and hands on the wheel.
Triggered via “Hey Google”, the JBL Link Drive incorporates dual noise cancelling microphones to inhibit engine, driving and road sounds which usually interfere with voice commands on a smartphone.
Programmed with Radio Barging Technology, the device allows users to listen to the radio, and immediately quieten when a “Hey Google” voice command is detected.
Once the request is completed, radio content automatically resumes.
The feature also works with incoming phone calls, allowing the driver to have hands-free conversations without noise interference.
For cars with Bluetooth, the JBL Link Drive syncs a smartphone to use the car’s stereo system. For cars without Bluetooth, an auxiliary outlet can connect to car speakers.
Harman VP and GM Car Audio Services, Jeffery Fay, states the product remedies the low engagement rate of voice activation technology in cars, citing poor performance from smartphones whilst driving:
‘The JBL LINK Drive addresses these sound interruptions through innovative noise cancelling technology, providing a convenient, smarter, and improved user experience”
“Whether it’s reading texts aloud, playing music or finding an alternate route, it’s more convenient to let the Google Assistant handle the task at hand, especially when driving.”
JBL LINK Drive Features
- Multi-Function Key
- Short press – push-to-talk redundancy
- Long press to mute microphone
- 2.1 Amp USB charging
- Auto pairing through the Google Assistant app
- Auto re-connect
- Multi-phone memory
- Bluetooth 4.2
The JBL Link Drive will launch in America later this year for US$59.95, with Australian pricing and availability to be confirmed.
Further information on Harman/JBL’s CES 2019 announcements is available here.