Kenwood succeeds in developing voice guidance system, which features a very natural and clear voice closely resembling a real human voice, for advanced vehicle-mounted equipment such as car navigation systems:
Japan's first hybrid, voice synthesis software "HBTTS*."
Kenwood Corporation (CEO: Haruo Kawahara, headquarters: Hachioji, Tokyo) has developed the first hybrid voice synthesis software in Japan for use in vehicle-mounted equipment such as car navigation systems.
Details of development
Conventional car navigation systems generally provide voice-based route guidance by reciting edited pre-recorded voice segments. However, with such technological innovations as cellular phones, the Internet and communications equipment modules, today's vehicle-mounted devices fulfill various functions not only as navigation systems but also as advanced telematics terminals. For example, such a terminal searches for facilities like restaurants through various networked databases and offers drivers route guidance to the correct location by voice, or allows them to listen to e-mail messages and news reports.
For this reason, demand is becoming strong for such human-machine interfaces that realize guidance functions together with a natural and clear human-like voice. Meanwhile, conventional navigation systems generally use the voice segment-editing method for guiding routes, and the TTS method is used to recite e-mail messages and news reports. The TTS technology generates a voice by processing signals based on information in the waveform database.
Against this backdrop, Kenwood has developed Japan's first hybrid voice synthesis software, "HBTTS," which is capable of reciting guidance, e-mail and news texts (processed by voice segment-editing and TTS methods), by the same narrator, and produces fluent voice guidance by augmenting new phrases that are not contained in the voice segment database with sound sources in the waveform database.
Kenwood is considering using the new software in a car navigation system that it is about to launch.
Technical outline of hybrid voice synthesis software "HBTTS" and its features
Hybrid voice synthesis software:
As mentioned above, the hybrid voice synthesis software "HBTTS" enables various types of digital content in car navigation and telematics systems to be recited with a uniform voice, to provide guidance in a natural human-like voice by optimally blending the prerecorded voices.
Developed with the technical cooperation of Animo Limited, the hybrid voice synthesis software "HBTTS" uses "FineSpeech," a TTS software technology.
Potential application of hybrid voice synthesis software "HBTTS"
Animo develops and sells software applications and services, related to voice synthesis, voice authentication, audio signal processing technologies, etc. In March 2001, it commercialized "FineSpeech," a high-quality voice synthesis software, which is extensively being used by corporations and regional governments in Japan in the form of PC applications for audio response and reciting of e-mail messages. It is also used for voice functions of robots.
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