Apple has announced the launch of CarPlay, their Siri-based system which allows drivers to make calls, use maps, text and listen to music hands free.

Users of the new system will be able to safely push a button on a screen in-built into the dashboard to access the features of the software. It will then display important information such as directions and the map to help you get to where you’re going with ease.

You’ll also be able to control the system using the native controls of your car, or simply through speaking to Siri, iOS’s smart hands-free personal assistant.

Car manufacturers already signed up

CarPlay is now available as an option for drivers in cars manufactured by Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, and in the future BMW, Ford and Jaguar will also launch this feature. This comes after the news that Ford was reported to be moving away from Microsoft’s Sync in-car voice command system.

Ferrari is currently previewing CarPlay on its four-wheel drive FF model, while Volvo plans to incorporate it into its XC90 sports utility vehicle. Mercedes’ S-Class large sedan and C-Class midsize should be compatible with the system. Currently there are no plans to incorporate the system into any existing car’s technology, it will only be available in new future models.

Using your phone with “minimised distraction”

The software was designed in response to the popularity of the iPhone. Greg Joswiak, vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing explained that the CarPlay has been designed to provide drivers with an incredible experience of using their iPhone in the car.

“iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimised distraction.”

Apple’s approach to the system means that a driver’s iPhone will be used as the brain behind CarPlay, connecting to the device when inside the car. Currently it’s only compatible on the iPhone 5 range of phones.

Integration of radio apps

This unique approach to in-car telecommunications means that your car will be able to stay ahead of the game with updates to the software available to download via your iPhone. This means that you won’t have to do anything complicated to keep your car up to date, and it also means you’re not suck with any out-of-date software that an older car may have.

CarPlay is also designed to integrate with other apps, and in the future Spotify, Podcasts, Beats Radio, iHeartRadio and Stitcher are all expected to be compatible with your car. It’s hoped that the radio industry will see a boost from this extra accessibility.

This is a different method to Google, who is launching a competing system which will see their Android-based system installed natively in the car. They have already teamed up with Tesla, Audi and Toyota to power their Maps technology.