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Ford wants voice control to respond to normal speech and not just to specific commands (Photo: Ford)

Ford and its voice-technology partner Nuance Communications are testing new technologies to make in-car voice recognition systems work easier and more efficiently.

The US carmaker would like its Sync infotainment system to recognize common words and phrases rather than just the specific commands that most voice recognition systems now require.

"We are examining how to take our voice recognition to the next level of command and control, helping further reduce the learning curve and improving ease of use." said Brigitte Richardson, Ford's lead engineer for voice control and speech technology.

Ford said its research shows that driver acceptance of voice recognition continues to grow, with 85 pc of owners of cars with such systems using it while driving. That's up from 70 pc less than a year ago.

According to a study by market researchers Global Industry Analysts, the global market for voice technology is expected to hit more than 20 billion dlrs by 2015.