SEAT SMART—Maybe, Innit?

Say you’re rolling through the U.K. in your SEAT Alhambra.

Say you’re rolling through the U.K. in your SEAT Alhambra. As you’re not familiar with your destination, you’re using the navigation system.

But this isn’t just any navi. It is called “SMART,” for SEAT Media Audio Recognition Technology.


Like any navi system, it uses GPS plotting. And like most systems, it has a hard drive. In the case of SMART, it is a 20-gig drive. But it is loaded with voice instruction data.

And not just any voice instruction data.

Rather, the system features Automatic Regional Speech Equivalence software. Which means that based on the info provided by the GPS, the navi system “knows” not only where the vehicle is, but what the people in those parts speak.

So if you happen to be driving in East London being routed to your destination, the voice isn’t that standard HAL 9000 voice, but one with a regional dialect, as in: “Awright geezer, it’s straight on at these lights, innit?”

Or if you’re about to arrive at you end point in Glasgow, it might say, “Aye, right. . .you’ve made it at last then, eh? Yer numpty.”

Our fascination with the poetry of Robert Burns notwithstanding, we have no idea what a “numpty” is, nor do we really want to know.

In addition to which, the system interrogates the vehicle’s ECU chips and becomes aware of things that have occurred, like routine maintenance, such that if, say, the wiper blades have been changed, the next time the automatic wipers engage, SMART says, “Raining again! Glad you got those wiper blades changed now, aren’t you?”

At which point you may wonder why you didn’t buy a Vauxhall or Renault.