Date:14 January 2013 Tags:, ,

Making the connection Ford South Africa has introduced its SYNC™ infotainment system, which will be available as standard on the new Kuga, at the same time as it revised its Focus compact car range. The system is fitted to more than 3 million vehicles worldwide.
SYNC, says Ford, is an advanced software platform that provides hands-free, voice-activated in-car connectivity. It is currently available on the Focus Trend and Sport derivatives.

By connecting a compatible mobile phone or digital media player to the car via Bluetooth or USB, up to 150 voice commands can be implemented. It is able to cope with variations in accents and vocabulary.

SYNC is able to retrieve text messages and reads them aloud. It is even able to identify popular abbreviations and emoticons such as LOL (laugh out loud) and 😀 (big smile). Using voice activation, the driver can also send a reply from a predetermined list of 15 responses while on the move.

Using a compatible digital media player, SYNC allows users to play music via voice commands and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. It’s possible to browse music collections by genre, album, artist, playlist or song title using voice commands. SYNC can even put together a playlist of the music the driver is in the mood for by utilising the “play similar” command.

A new generation

According to Ford, Generation Y – that huge chunk of the population born between 1981 and 1995 – is the first group of car buyers that has grown up with online activity as a way of life.

Says Dr K Venkatesh Prasad, group and technical leader with Ford’s Infotronics Research and Advanced Engineering department:  “… users now expect to sit in an automobile and have their brought-in devices and beamed-in services harmoniously integrate with the built-in interfaces in their car. The automotive user experience is being redefined.

“Just as it’s unthinkable today to have a stand-alone personal computer, perhaps the day is not far when the ‘move alone’ automobile will be considered an experience of the past,” says Prasad. “With the increasing presence of brought-in devices and beamed-in services, the effective computing and communication capability of the automobile is clearly on the rise.”
With the huge increase in computing power inside cars in just the past few years, the computing and communication capability of tomorrow’s car might begin to approach what’s available in our networked office environment today, says Prasad.

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