What Is Garmin GPS ASR?

By Jean Range

Voice recognition enables you to navigate hands-free.
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Garmin manufactures the Nuvi line of portable GPS systems for cars and pedestrian use, some of which feature Automatic Speech Recognition, also known as voice control or voice activation. On older and on lower-end Garmin devices, ASR devices are small external devices, enabling you to interact hands-free with your GPS device. New models have built-in voice capabilities.

Safety First

Keeping both hands on the wheel improves travel safety. Premium Garmin Nuvi portable navigation devices feature voice recognition systems with a wide vocabulary and robust built-in intelligence, enabling you to cycle through the device's menus without touching the screen. Using voice commands is clearly a safety advantage over potential distractions of using a touch screen while driving. You can search for points of interest hands-free by category such as airports, gas stations and restaurants, leveraging intelligence based on your current location, and can then be directed to specific destinations turn by turn.

Remote Microphones

To use voice commands on older or lower-end Garmin devices, you press a button on the remote microphone before speaking. The GPS screen displays a green dialog balloon when it's ready to accept voice input and a red balloon when you need to listen. You can also opt to touch the screen at any time and then switch back to voice. Speaking clearly and slowly is important. Newer Garmin models have advanced software that helps the voice recognition learn your cadence and voice patterns with ongoing use.

Built-in Voice Recognition

The Garmin Nuvi 3700 series is comprised of ultra-slim hand-held or mountable devices that have optional voice recognition built in. An easy way to activate speech commands is to personalize your device by giving it a nickname. Whenever you want to activate voice recognition, just say your device's name to wake it up and the capability is automatically enabled. Or, you can activate voice recognition by navigating to the tools section and tapping the voice command icon on the multi-touch screen.

Smartphone Interface

Some Garmin portable navigators offer Bluetooth connectivity for complete hands-free operation with a compatible cell phone while you drive. As of January 2013, this capability is available for Android devices. Bluetooth integration enables you to synchronize favorite places, address books, call history and text support between your mobile device and portable navigation device while your mobile phone uses your Garmin GPS to let you dial, answer and talk.