Last June, AT&T partnered with Panasonic to explore "connected lifestyle projects" in Peachtree City, Georgia. Now, for CES 2012, Ma Bell announced some details about one of those projects: a Siri-like virtual assistant designed for automobile manufacturers. Carmakers can build the tech into their vehicles, as a way to keep drivers' attention on the road.

Though not even into the prototype stage, it builds on AT&T's long-gestating voice-recognition technology, dubbed Watson, reportedly capable of processing natural-language queries. Panasonic's automotive division, meanwhile, provides the connectivity framework, with QNX at work on the user interface. The companies haven't offered much more than a project outline, and given the lead times on automobile manufacturing, customers aren't likely to see this tech in the near future. But the concept makes intuitive sense, and we're sure AT&T will keep us updated on its progress.