ALICANTE – Ford showed off SYNC at the IFA Global Press Conference, bringing built-in connectivity to cars.
SYNC is powered by the Microsoft Windows Embedded Automotive platform and allows users to operate smartpones and other mobile devices linked to the car via USB or Bluetooth as safely as possible.
One of the main user interface features is its voice command control system, which it developed with voice technology company Nuance. It recognises 10,000 first-level voice commands in 19 languages and can read back functions. It also reads SMS messages aloud, recognising smilies and text acronyms, such as ‘LOL.’
The voice-recognition system allows users to input destinations, operate climate-control features, audio, entertainment and devices linked with the car.
Along with voice control, the Ford Focus will feature an 8-inch touchscreen, which can display media, settings and other features.
Users can acquire media for their cars, using built-in USB ports for devices such as MP3 players. It also has an SD card port and RCA inputs for audio and video. However, video on the main screen only works when the car is parked.
The vehicle can operate as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot by connecting a portable USB modem or Bluetooth-tethered smartphone. Up to five passengers can connect to this.
SYNC’s software can also be updated by downloading the update from Ford’s website onto a USB key and connecting it with the vehicle.
Users can also transfer contact information and photos from the device phonebook to the car.
According to Jason Johnson, user interface design manager at Ford of Europe Product Development, the new system will be introduced to Europe in 2012 for new Ford Focuses and he predicts 2m vehicles in Europe will have this feature by 2015.