SYNC is an electronic communications and entertainment interface developed by Ford and Microsoft. Ford’s next-generation system – SYNC with Traffic, Directions and Information – was unveiled at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show this week, and is destined to provide simple handsfree access to personalized traffic reports, precise turn-by-turn driving directions and up-to-date information including business listings, news, sports and weather.
To take advantage of Traffic, Directions and Information, customers simply have to pair their Bluetooth-enabled phone with SYNC and activate the service via a special website. Once that’s complete, the feature becomes ‘portable’, meaning customers can access the information in any Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle equipped with SYNC and the Traffic, Directions and Information function.
The Traffic function essentially provides drivers with local traffic conditions. The Directions function is more complicated. Drivers will be able to request a business and be offered its location by the system after it automatically searches a 14-million-plus business directory. Turn-by-turn directions are downloaded to the vehicle and are spoken to the user over the vehicle’s audio system and displayed on the radio. Finally, the Information aspect will allow drivers to personalize and categorize their favorite media topics, such as sports, weather and news using voice commands or online.
The new services will be available on nearly all 2010 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models with no initial monthly subscription fees, thanks to three years of service included with a new vehicle purchase. By the middle of this year, Ford’s entire North American lineup will offer the SYNC feature, and more than a million Ford owners are expected to have the system in their cars by the third quarter.