BERLIN, Germany – Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch will make its European debut in the new Ford Focus Electric when it comes to Europe in 2013, the company today announced at the IFA consumer electronics convention in Berlin.
The Microsoft-powered system delivers significantly enhanced voice-activation functionality, mobile WiFi connectivity and an eight-inch colour touchscreen.
“This is an exciting evolution of in-car connectivity, following the European debut of SYNC in the all-new B-MAX this year,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president of Product Development, Ford of Europe. “SYNC with MyFord Touch and Focus Electric both deliver cutting-edge technologies developed to optimise the ownership experience for Ford customers – they are a perfect combination.”
Developed in partnership with Microsoft, SYNC with MyFord Touch, evolves the voice-activated in-car connectivity system SYNC, recently unveiled in Europe on the Ford B-MAX. More than 4 million SYNC-equipped vehicles are already on the road in the U.S., and SYNC with MyFord Touch brings additional capabilities for global markets including Europe, such as new language understanding.
“By building Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch on the Windows Embedded Automotive platform, Microsoft and Ford can deliver automotive innovation at the speed of software – keeping pace with the fast-moving mobile technology industry and latest consumer trends,” said Barb Edson, general manager for marketing, Windows Embedded, Microsoft Corp. “Today marks another step forward in our global partnership thus easily enabling European drivers to connect to the devices they love just by using simple voice commands.”
The system enables users to control many of the Focus Electric’s controls using one of, or a combination of, the thousands of voice commands recognised by the system. These cover nine European languages including: English; French; Spanish; Portuguese; German, Italian, Dutch, Russian and Turkish.
SYNC with MyFord Touch enables drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while using their own mobile phone, and the vehicle’s audio entertainment, climate control and navigation. The system enables drivers to issue one-shot destination entries to the navigation system, saying aloud a full destination address without needing to respond to prompts for city, postcode and street.
The most important voice-commands can be issued at any time, giving users the simplest possible access to the wide range of voice-activated features. For example; customers can place a hands-free phone call with the command “Call <name>”, without first having to give the command “Phone”, while the system is in audio, navigation or another mode.
“Voice-activation is a key element of our SYNC systems,” said Jason Johnson, supervisor for infotainment and connectivity, Ford of Europe. “It simplifies the experience for the customer and simplifies the voice-activation experience to deliver real benefit.”
SYNC with MyFord Touch also offers two USB ports, SD Card input and Audio/Video RCA inputs. This is in addition to Bluetooth connectivity with mobile phones, which enables voice-activation of phone calls to phonebook contacts, retrieval of incoming SMS text messages; and enables customisable, pre-defined SMS text message responses to be sent from compatible mobile phones by voice command.
The system can also create a mobile WiFi hot spot using a Bluetooth-tethered compatible mobile phone to turn a single incoming point of Internet connectivity into a WiFi broadcast and enable up to five Internet devices to connect.
The comprehensive system is configured for European users, and can display images as wallpaper background uploaded via USB, and contact photographs for calls. The touch screen can play back video from connected media sources when stationary and displays the cover art of the connected USB music track thanks to an embedded Gracenote music library.
SYNC with MyFord Touch will feature Ford’s Emergency Assistance, which directly connects the vehicle occupants to local emergency services operators after an accident, in the correct language for the region. It will also allow users to maintain compatibility with the latest services, features and devices through regular software updates, delivered via upload from USB flash drive or Ford dealer.