When the Ford SYNC system finally arrives in Europe next year, it will come with a couple of features which are sure to entice many drivers.
Speaking to us from Hanover today, where he helped announce the launch of Ford SYNC in 2012 with the all-new Ford Focus, user interface engineer Jason Johnson, told us about AppLink and Emergency Assistance, two of the features driver will see integrated in the SYNC system with Europe. Johnson told us that the SYNC system, which has been in cars across the Atlantic since 2009, won’t come to Europe until 2012 due to tweaking the languages and navigation systems.
Speaking about AppLink, Johnson said it was a feature which allows smartphone apps to be controlled by SYNC’s voice-activated system. AppLink, which is currently compatible with Android, BlackBerry and iOS devices, will allow developers to set up their apps to work with the SYNC system. Essentially once the driver has his/her mobile device connected (via Bluetooth) to the SYNC system, a press of a button on the steering wheel will allow him/her to activate the app without having to take the phone out of their pocket. Currently in the States apps from providers such as internet radio service Pandora are in use and Ford called on all app developers to speak to them regarding the European launch. Obviously all apps won't be able to take advantage of this system but there are many possibilities for apps from music to maps.
Johnson said that his team were being contacted by a number of developers at the moment but would not expand on exactly who they were talking to, though he did mention that a Twitter app was in development. Another main feature of the new system will be Emergency Assistance, which will automatically inform the relevant emergency services in the event of an accident. Emergency Assistance is able to accurately determine the location of the vehicle using a combination of the onboard GPS unit, map database and information from the customer’s mobile phone before making a call to emergency services. The system ensures that emergency services are contacted with an introductory message communicating to the operator that a crash has occurred at a precise location in the correct language for the region. “Emergency Assistance is a potentially life-saving technology that we will be offering to customers free of charge for the life of their Ford vehicle,” said Ford CEO and president Alan Mulally.
Johnson said that when SYNC launches with the new Ford Focus in 2012, each new model will come with four languages installed (with English being the only default) however Emergency Assistance will be able to ‘speak’ to the local emergency services in the language they speak. Emergency Assistance will also be free for each customer, and any subsequent customers who buy the car second-hand. With Ford obviously putting a lot of money and effort into its on-board system, it will be hoping that features such as AppLink and Emergency Assistance will attract people to its cars.