COLOGNE, Germany – Ford has produced the 10-millionth vehicle equipped with award-winning in-car connectivity system Ford SYNC.
The technology, which was introduced by Ford in Europe last year and is now available on the B-MAX, Fiesta, Focus, C-MAX and Grand C-MAX, Kuga, and Transit Custom, was first launched in the U.S. six years ago.
“SYNC was more than just a technology breakthrough, it has reshaped how we see ourselves as a company,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln, speaking at the Connected Car Expo to open the 2013 Los Angeles International Auto Show.
“SYNC has helped us to think and act more like a technology company,” Farley acknowledged. “It has forever changed how we look at our business and how we respond to our customers. Ultimately, SYNC embodies what Ford is all about – going further to turn innovative ideas into products that are affordable, attainable and valuable to millions of people.”
The new Ford EcoSport SUV is among the first Ford vehicles in Europe to offer Ford SYNC with Voice Control and AppLink, which enables drivers to voice-activate apps from behind the wheel. Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance, already available on many models, can alert local emergency services operators to an accident in 26 languages, spoken in 40 European regions.
When Ford began developing SYNC, the engineering teams recognised mobile phones and digital media players were quickly becoming an increasingly important part of people’s lives, and the team created an architecture based on open protocols like USB and Bluetooth to enable virtually any device to be connected for media playback and communications.
“We have literally turned the car into a platform for app developers, who work with us to add value through new features delivered at the speed consumers expect,” said Farley. “With more than 1 billion smartphones now in service around the world, we expect mobile connectivity will continue to be a foundational element of our strategy going forward.”
Ford has targeted 3.5 million SYNC-equipped vehicles in Europe by mid-decade, and continues to work on new enhancements that can keep customers on the leading edge of in-car technology.
“At Ford, we’re focused on how data and connectivity can turn devices into intelligent systems that enable insight-driven action,” said Doug VanDagens, global director of Connected Services Solutions for Ford. “In the vehicle, this means the ability to connect to more data from more sources and use that to help the driver. It’s our goal to turn the connected vehicle into an intelligent vehicle.”
Cloud connectivity, on-board sensors and data access are key components for creating this kind of intelligent vehicle experience. Other advances, such as natural language processing and machine learning, could help Ford SYNC provide a more natural interaction between car and driver, enabling a driving experience that’s more personalised and convenient.