In 2007, Ford changed the way we connect our mobile devices to our cars with the introduction of SYNC on the Escape. In 2011, Ford almost overnight destroyed the goodwill toward SYNC with the introduction of the hugely troubled MyFord Touch which was known internally as SYNC V2. While Ford made MFT much better over the last couple of years with software updates, it also began work on a complete reboot. The result of those efforts debuts this summer as SYNC 3 and the Fiesta and Escape will be the first vehicles to get this all-new connectivity and infotainment system.
Unlike previous versions of SYNC which were built on Microsoft’s car platform (which itself was a variant of Windows embedded), SYNC runs on QNX, a very robust real-time operating system designed for embedded applications like this. QNX has been widely adopted by a wide range of automakers including Volkswagen Group, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler and others.
More importantly to the driver, Ford has paid much more attention to creating a user interface that is clean, uncluttered and responsive. I’ve yet to try SYNC in a vehicle but the demos I’ve tried already work better than any MFT application I’ve ever used. Another addition to the system is support for AppLink for smartphone apps, something previously only available through SYNC 1.1.
After the Fiesta and Escape launch, SYNC will be rolled out to all other Ford vehicles including the new Mustang, F-150, Edge and Explorer by the end of 2015. Ford has also built in support for over-the-air updates to SYNC 3 using WiFi. When parked in your garage or driveway and connected to your home network, updates can be automatically downloaded and applied.
All-New Ford SYNC 3 Connectivity System Launching on 2016 Ford Escape and Fiesta This Summer
- SYNC® 3 – Ford’s all-new communications and entertainment system – features faster performance, conversational voice recognition, intuitive smartphone-like touch screen and easier-to-understand graphical interface
- Other new features include seamless integration of AppLink™ for a simple way to control smartphone apps, Siri Eyes-Free capability for Apple iPhone, software updates via Wi-Fi, and enhanced 911 Assist® for subscription-free emergency calling in the event of a significant accident
- SYNC 3 to launch in North America on 2016 Ford Escape and Fiesta – on sale this summer – providing a safer way for Ford customers to connect their smartphones while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel
DEARBORN, Mich., June 2, 2015 – Ford announced today its all-new SYNC® 3 technology debuts this summer in North America on the 2016 Ford Escape and Fiesta. The new communications and entertainment system is faster and easier to use with enhanced response to driver commands.
With the debut of SYNC 3 for Escape and Fiesta, Ford is launching its newest in-car connectivity technology as an option in one of its highest-volume vehicles, Escape, and in its most affordable car, Fiesta.
“SYNC always has been about providing a safer way for our customers to connect their smartphones in order to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford Motor Company vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Customers continue to tell us they want this technology, and they want it to be fast and easy to use – like a smartphone. SYNC 3 delivers on that request.”
SYNC 3 features all-new hardware and software, building on the capability of the industry-leading technology that launched in 2007. Ford SYNC is now in more than 12 million vehicles on the road globally.
Easy-to-use voice recognition brings more capability
Ford SYNC – the industry’s first system to widely and most affordably offer voice-activated technology to control smartphones – is becoming more capable by minimizing the number of steps needed to carry out commands. Selecting music, making a call or searching for a destination is easier than ever, thanks to SYNC 3’s simpler command structure.
Ford was first to bring voice control to in-vehicle apps with AppLink™, and the experience is further improved with SYNC 3.
AppLink allows customers to connect their smartphone to their vehicle and control compatible apps using voice commands or buttons on the vehicle display screen.
AppLink automatically discovers smartphone apps including Spotify, Pandora, Glympse, NPR One and iHeart Auto (iHeartRadio’s automotive app), and displays each app’s unique graphics and branding. Music and news apps are automatically displayed along with other media sources – just like AM/FM or SiriusXM.
Additionally, when connected to an Apple iPhone, SYNC 3 offers seamless integration of Siri Eyes-Free capability. Drivers can seek Siri’s help by holding down SYNC’s Push to Talk steering wheel button – much as they would on an iPhone to initiate a Siri session.
SYNC 3 is optimized for hands-free use. Plus, the all-new capacitive touch screen technology offers an experience similar to a smartphone or tablet. Quicker response to touch, as well as voice commands and smartphone-like gestures including pinch-to-zoom and swipe are central to SYNC 3 – along with crisp, modern graphics.
On-screen complexity is reduced and control options used most are prioritized. The home screen features three zones – Navigation, Audio and Phone. Tile-like icons dominate, with a quick access function tray along the bottom making for a more straightforward user experience.
Phone contacts are searchable via a simple swipe of the finger to scroll through the alphabet. With One Box Search, users can look up points of interest or enter addresses in much the same way they use an Internet search engine.
Additional features, including subscription-free 911 Assist
As with earlier generations of the technology, SYNC 3 provides subscription-free emergency service 911 Assist®.
The customer’s Bluetooth-connected phone is used to dial 911 in the event of a significant accident – alerting first responders with vehicle location. With SYNC 3, the car relays additional information – including if airbags deploy, whether the crash is front, side, rear or rollover, and the number of safety belts detected in use – to help emergency call-takers dispatch appropriate resources to the scene.
SYNC 3 now also features the ability to update software via Wi-Fi. Once a vehicle is set up with credentials for a home Wi-Fi network accessible in a customer’s driveway or garage, it can automatically download updates.