MyFord Touch™ driver connect, launching on the 2011 Ford Edge, will feature more technology to help people manage driver distractions. Ford is also making it easier to control in-car systems with fewer steps and more natural language. Customers will be able to speak more than 10,000 first-level commands, up from only 100 in the first-generation SYNC® system.
To help make the in-car connection safer, Ford is improving the SYNC text message readback feature and empowering drivers with a “Do Not Disturb” button so they can decide the level of connectivity and communications they want to manage while in the car. Ford is also taking the proactive step to “lock-out” capabilities that are not relevant to the task of driving while the vehicle is in motion.
Ford believes drivers should keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel and was the first automaker to support a proposed federal ban and state-level legislation banning hand-held texting while driving. In turn, Ford also understands that drivers want to be connected to their mobile worlds while on the road, and texting continues to grow as a preferred communication method. According to a new poll from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, for example, approximately one in four (27 percent) American adults and driving age teens (26 percent) admit to texting while driving.
Bluetooth is the standard technology that allows electronic devices such as a mobile phone and Ford SYNC to communicate with each other wirelessly. To improve the number of phones that can communicate with SYNC so the system can read aloud incoming text messages to drivers, Ford has adopted the latest Bluetooth standard – Message Access Profile (MAP).
Defined by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, the MAP standard outlines a set of features and procedures used to exchange email, SMS, and MMS messages between devices. It is tailored to the automotive hands-free environment where an onboard terminal device – in this case, SYNC – takes advantage of the messaging capability of a communications device, such as a BlackBerry smartphone.
In addition, Ford continues to limit access to a variety of communication features while the vehicle is in motion, thus encouraging drivers to use voice commands if they wish to access the function. Ford is also taking the proactive step of locking out or limiting content and capabilities of MyFord Touch that are not related to the task of driving when the vehicle is in motion, for instance:
Ford is also working with voice technology pioneers Nuance Communications, and plans to once again raise the bar with the next generation of SYNC. The voice upgrades will be available on the next generation of SYNC powering the new driver connect technology, MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch. The system will make it easier for drivers to use voice control and get what they want more quickly using more natural phrases. Customers will be able to speak more than 10,000 first-level commands, up from only 100 in first-generation SYNC.
Examples of some improvements to SYNC powering MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles include:
More direct, first-level commands
Quicker, easier entry and search
Use of aliases