Innovation That Matters

New Toyota minivan will make it easier for drivers to yell at their kids

Work & Lifestyle

The new Toyota Sienna is set to come with Driver Easy Speak, a system that amplifies parents' voices, enabling them to be heard over kids' screaming.

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Parents who drive will know all to well the feeling of trying to concentrate on the road while the younger backseat passengers scream and fight, because it happens without fail every single day. Not only is it annoying, but it’s also dangerous. Australia’s Attention Powered Car has already attempted to introduce an automatic slowing mechanism when drivers get distracted from the job at hand, and now the new Toyota Sienna is set to come with Driver Easy Speak, a system that amplifies parents’ voices, enabling them to be heard over kids’ screaming.

Due for release later this year, the 2015 Sienna minivan will be equipped with a built-in microphone near the driver seat that’s designed to be used for handsfree control of the vehicle’s smart dashboard. However, with the Driver Easy Speak feature enabled, parents can send their voice through to the speakers located at the back of the eight-seater people carrier. The system only works one-way, so drivers can make sure that they’re heard over the noisy passengers without the distraction also being amplified. They can also control the volume of their voice through the dashboard.

The feature will only be available to customers purchasing Toyota’s Entune premium audio system, although details of the pricing have not yet been released. Are there other ways to make sure that parents can keep kids from misbehaving while they’re driving?



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