General Motors will be the first automaker to implement Siri’s Eyes Free feature, as it officially announced plans to incorporate the technology into its Chevrolet Spark and Sonic subcompact cars early next year — as first indicated by an independent report in June. An iPhone 5 or 4S running iOS 6 will connect via Bluetooth to Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system — drivers can activate Siri’s Eyes Free mode using the steering wheel voice activation button. Once in Eyes Free mode, drivers can perform a number of tasks without taking their eyes off the road: make voice-activated, hands-free calls to contacts; play iTunes songs and switch music sources from radio to iPod mode; listen to, compose, and send an iMessage or text message to a phone number or a saved contact; access Calendar and add appointments.
While in Eyes Free mode, driving distractions can be minimized by keeping the iPhone’s screen from lighting up, even when Siri answers simple questions — but Siri will not provide answers to complex questions that require displaying a web page. Eyes Free can eventually be expected to turn up in vehicles from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda, as all eight automakers were initially announced as partners.