Work and Drive: Wireless E-Mail for Your Commute

IMS says it will offer a wireless service that gives drivers an efficient, hands-free way to check e-mail while driving.

What could be a distraction to some drivers may prove a useful tool to countless others.

Intelligent Mechatronic Systems, based in Waterloo, Ontario, has announced that it is ready to offer what it calls the "worlds first hands-free and eyes-free e-mail solution for in-vehicle use."

While hands-free calling systems have become commonplace, IMS boasts that its new system, iLane, allows drivers to receive and send e-mail while in transit and still keep their eyes on the road.

In a July 24 statement, IMS said that according to personal preferences, a driver can have his or her e-mail messages filtered and prioritized. While the important messages come in, the less important e-mails are filtered out, and the driver can keep both hands on the wheel.

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The company is not working with any wireless network, but its technology allows the user to download software that turns a handheld device, like a BlackBerry, into a voice-activated system, said John Reynolds, vice president of business development for IMS.

The company said iLane works with Bluetooth wireless technology and a vehicles audio system or a headset. It reads the messages out loud—in the drivers preferred language—and will respond to the drivers instructions.

"The presence of the driver is automatically detected by iLane, which then assumes control to intelligently capture and manage inbound information as soon as it arrives on the drivers wireless e-mail device," the company said.

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Once the driver receives a message, he or she can then listen to the entire message, forward the e-mail or compose a response. Telephone calls, text messages and other e-mail attachments can be processed through the iLane system, the company said.

The driver can send a response that is recorded and sent as an audio file, or send a prewritten message.

"For example, we have a template that says Im in the car and will be in the office soon," Reynolds said, adding that the company does not yet have the technology to offer fully voice-dictated messages.

The company said it has already tested the iLane with the BlackBerry and the Palm Treo.

The technology the company is working with to create iLane is still patent-pending. Reynolds said IMS will start making demos available later in 2006 and then start large-scale production in the first quarter of 2007. A specific price has not been set.

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