Cologne, Germany — March 1, 2011 — Ford will establish itself at the forefront of integrated communications, voice-controlled operation and in-car entertainment options when SYNC arrives in Europe in 2012.
The extensive and innovative list of features and functions available to Ford drivers via the system has been made possible by Ford’s own skilled engineers in Europe and the United States with essential input from experts within the technology industry.
To ensure that SYNC, together with the MyFord Touch interface, will be able to offer the highest level of performance and functionality as expected by Ford customers, the company is co-developing the system with a number of partners chosen for their expertise in their respective fields.
Individual partners including Gracenote, Microsoft, NAVTEQ, Nuance Communications, Sony Corporation, TeleNav and ViaMichelin are all contributing to the development of SYNC, using their extensive experience and know-how in individual fields to help produce a uniquely capable and comprehensively equipped system.
The result of these combined efforts will be the most sophisticated system of its kind, offering Ford customers a more comfortable and connected in-car experience.
"By harnessing the experience and expertise of the finest hardware and software manufacturers from a variety of fields, Ford is developing a system that is far ahead of the game and will continue to be thanks to its upgradeable design," said John Schneider, chief engineer, Ford Global Multimedia and Infotainment.
"Developing a system as advanced as SYNC with MyFord Touch required expertise outside of the traditional car manufacturer remit, but the experience being gained from the project will continue to benefit Ford customers as our company develops as a producer of world-class technology."
Working with Ford, Gracenote is providing technologies and music data that will enable SYNC with MyFord Touch to release the full potential of digital music players. Thanks to the combined efforts of Gracenote and Ford, SYNC will deliver a safer, more convenient and more engaging way to experience music on the move through enhanced voice recognition and album cover art. The MyFord Touch carousel of album artwork will be brought to life by the Gracenote database, which can recognise audio files from a USB integrated device and provide them with the correct artwork. Gracenote will also improve the accuracy of SYNC’s voice recognition capabilities for music search, letting drivers pinpoint bands, artists and albums with hard to pronounce names and irregular spellings. For example, Gracenote ensures SYNC can understand artist names such as ‘INXS’, ‘Mötley Crüe’ and ‘Ke$ha’. Drivers will also be able to easily access artist’s recordings using their nicknames. ‘The Boss’ for Bruce Springsteen, ‘The Fab Four’ for The Beatles, ‘The King’ for Elvis Presley and even ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ for Frank Sinatra, are all recognised by SYNC thanks to Gracenote, among thousands of other artist nicknames.
Ford and Microsoft have worked together for more than five years to develop an integrated communications and infotainment system that connects drivers and passengers to their digital lifestyles. The culmination of this relationship will be seen in the seamless operation and limitless potential of SYNC. At the heart of SYNC is Microsoft Windows Embedded Automotive, a powerful and reliable software platform with the latest tools and technologies for Ford to deliver the most comprehensive package of control and connectivity options, as well as innovative features and functionality that deliver an engaging user experience for customers. SYNC-enabled Ford vehicles will provide drivers with Bluetooth connectivity, access to music libraries on their portable media devices via USB and the ability to operate a slew of other applications that contribute to a richer in-car experience.
As the leading global provider of maps, traffic and location data, NAVTEQ is contributing a comprehensive package of advanced content for the MyFord Touch system. The data supplied to Ford is designed to support more precise guidance, to help driver orientation and generally improve the overall navigation experience and includes, for example, warnings of upcoming road features such as traffic lights or visual functions which provide assistance at complex junctions. NAVTEQ’s data also includes information on where and when traffic jams will happen based on when they typically occur, allowing drivers to be guided via alternative routes where traffic is flowing more smoothly. NAVTEQ will even supply MyFord Touch users with details on the location and range of fuel offered by service stations.
The unrivalled voice control capability of Ford’s SYNC system would not have been possible without the input of the speech technology expert, Nuance Communications. Nuance’s task is to ensure that Ford customers around the world can benefit from the same level of voice-controlled capability. The company’s development of a speech recognition system that can deliver a response to 10,000 commands in 19 languages is crucial to positioning SYNC at the forefront of voice-controlled functionality. While working with Ford on the SYNC project, Nuance has made significant investments to support the broad dialect coverage required in larger regions like the United States and China. Europe presents unique challenges, in part because of the proximity of different countries and the resulting need for multilingual solutions. By optimising both the speech recognition and text-to-speech technology to be compatible with multiple languages, Nuance is making an important contribution to Ford’s status as a manufacturer of truly global vehicles and technology.
The partnership between Sony Corporation and Ford has been ongoing since 2001, bringing the highest quality audio to a wide range of Ford vehicles. Sony developed the audio system which features state-of-the-art design and a speaker system boasting premium sound quality with Sony’s unique acoustic engineering. By developing vehicle-specific sound curves by means of Digital Signal Processing technology, Sony is able to provide an outstanding audio experience for Ford customers. The audio system from Sony comprises an Integrated Control Panel with piano black finish, a five-channel audio head unit with vehicle specific equalisation technology, a premium centre speaker, four premium tweeters and four premium woofers all engineered by Sony. As a result, Ford customers can enjoy their favourite music with highest quality acoustics thanks to audio technology delivered by Sony.
Ford is partnering with TeleNav, one of the largest global wireless navigation services providers, to bring connected navigation to SYNC with MyFord Touch. The system will use TeleNav’s GPS navigation software to deliver real-time information to help drivers search, find and reach destinations more reliably and efficiently. TeleNav’s SD card-based navigation system provides an easily updateable option compared to CD, DVD or hard-drive-based systems, while its global navigation solution includes regional and local information such as languages, guidance and maps. Eco-Route, an application developed by TeleNav that calculates a fuel-efficient option for each route, will also benefit SYNC with MyFord Touch users. Using TeleNav’s software, MyFord Touch will be able to access historical and real-time traffic data as well as speed limits and road angulations to calculate three drive route options: fastest, shortest and eco-friendly, offering a potential 15 per cent fuel saving.
Ford and ViaMichelin have joined forces to ensure SYNC with MyFord Touch users will benefit from Michelin’s celebrated hotel and restaurant guide, along with a full database of European tourist sites. The pan-global benefits that will be offered by SYNC will make travelling across Europe far easier and adding to that appeal is fast and simple access to information on where to eat, stay and visit while travelling. The complete MICHELIN Guide will be accessible through SYNC with MyFord Touch. Whether drivers are looking for a small, local hotel or a renowned gourmet restaurant, Michelin’s inspectors have selected the finest options. Using SYNC, customers can conduct searches using voice commands based around their position, an address, by name of the restaurant or by keywords including the type of cuisine desired. Comprehensive listings are present for more than 24 countries across Europe. Equally beneficial will be access to The MICHELIN Green Guide, a companion for even the most inquisitive and demanding of travellers. The guide will make an unparalleled degree of information—designed to reveal the historic, natural and cultural attractions of a town, a region or a country—available through SYNC with MyFord Touch.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.fordmotorcompany.com.
Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 51 individual markets and employs approximately 66,000 employees. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford of Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 22 manufacturing facilities, including joint ventures. The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903—the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.
TeleNav, Inc. is a leading provider of consumer location-based services (LBS), enterprise LBS and automotive LBS with more than 24 million paying subscribers as of June 30, 2011. TeleNav's solutions provide consumers, wireless service providers, enterprises and automakers with location-specific, real-time, personalized services such as GPS navigation, local search, mobile advertising, mobile commerce, location tracking and workflow automation. TeleNav's technology is available across more than 600 types of mobile phones, all major mobile phone operating systems and a broad range of wireless network protocols. TeleNav's service providers and partners include AT&T, Bell Mobility, Boost Mobile, China Mobile, Cincinnati Bell, Ford Motor Company, NII Holdings, QNX Software Systems, Rogers, Sprint Nextel, Telcel, T-Mobile UK, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless and Vivo Brazil.