Ford has recently announced the third saga to its incredibly popular and easy to use hands-free Sync system known as Ford Sync 3. This system builds upon the features of the old Sync system, but with a new communications and entertainment system that is faster, easier to use, and more intuitive for driver input for better performance. How so you ask? Let’s explain!
This new hands-free communication system features an easier to use voice recognition system that acts more like a conversation rather than just strict commands. By just saying “play <artist, song, album, or genre>” the system understands and your song is played. So if you say “play artist, Backstreet Boys”, you’ll be able to rock out to some 90’s boy bands in no time! (Just remember… there’s better music out there… just saying). It can also do this for radio stations too, even SiriusXM stations! The voice controls also work for navigation. Now, the driver doesn’t have to be specific with destinations if they are unsure of the name. So if the driver vocally searches for “Newark Airport” the system will recognize that the driver needs directions to “Newark Liberty International Airport”. Addresses can be said in a similar way, such as saying “One Hundred Twenty Three Fake Street” instead of “1-2-3 Fake Street”. Its innovations like this that help keep the drivers more focused to the road, and help Sync 3 to have the advantage as the easy to use hands free system. No frustrations caused by inattentive systems that can’t understand user inputs.
Another useful feature is AppLink, a system that brings voice control to in-vehicle apps. Ford was the first automaker to bring this technology to the industry, and its new system has an improved user experience. AppLink allows smartphone users to connect to their vehicles and use the compatible apps with voice commands or buttons on the display screen. Apps such as Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and many more, can be automatically discovered by the system. Other Music and News apps automatically get displayed along with other media soruces like AM/FM and SiriusXM. This better integration with smartphones creates a more user-friendly experience, like that of the smartphone itself. Users of Apple’s iPhones can rejoice too, as Sync 3 allows for seamless integration of Siri Eyes-Free control. To access Siri, all the driver needs to do is hold down Sync’s “Push to Talk” steering wheel button for as long it would normally take on the phone.
And when the time comes to update the system no need to stress! It can connect to Wi-Fi networks within reach of a costumer’s driveway or garage and automatically download updates that way!
Sync 3 also takes safety into consideration too when applying this technology. Standard 911 Assist that was previously used in Sync systems has been enhanced with new features. This system allows a Bluetooth-connected phone to dial 911 in the event of an accident, which alerts first-responders with the vehicles location, if airbags were deployed, type of crash (rollover, side, etc.), and the number of safety belts detected. All of this valuable info allows emergency responders to dispatch the appropriate resources quickly to the scene.
All of this new improved tech sounds pretty cool, but the best part about all of this is Sync 3’s all-new touch screen system that delivers a similar experience to that of a tablet. This system is a replacement for MyFord Touch and uses Sync technology to have a quicker response to touch and voice commands with familiar smartphone-like gestures such as pinch-to-zoom and swipe. The sharp graphics, bright background, and large buttons with high contrast fonts allow for reduced glare during daytime use. At night, the system switches to a dark background to help reduce fatigue and reflections on the windows for better outward visibility. For easy access use, the system has three zone choices: Navigation, Audio, and Phone. Icons surround the screen with a quick access function tray for a simpler user experience. Phone contacts can be accessed by a simple swipe on the screen, which allows the user to scroll through the alphabet. Sync 3 also has “one box search”, where users can look up points of interest and addresses similar to that of a search engine.
Simplicity and limit, with regard to on screen controls, were Ford’s goals when designing the new system. By reducing the number of controls, and creating simpler commands, Ford is cutting down on the number of times the driver has to glance at the screen. This means that you can keep your eyes on the road, and your hands at 10 and 2. Expect the new Sync 3 software to start arriving in Ford Vehicles for the 2016 Model year.