Feeds

Ford punts prang-prompted auto cops-calling kit

Sync tech talks to smartphones, speaks the local lingo

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Ford has announced that, come 2012, European drivers will be able to opt for its all-singing, all-dancing vehicle connectivity suite, Sync.

Initially, the system, which sports a "class leading" 8in touchscreen UI, will be available in the new Ford Focus.

Ford Sync

With the help of a couple of USB ports, Bluetooth, an SD card slot and RCA jacks, the Microsoft Windows Embedded Automotive-based system aims to seamlessly integrate your car’s navigation and entertainment systems with your media and your smartphone - assuming it’s running iOS, Android or BlackBerry.

Sync will also set up a Wi-Fi hotspot inside the cabin, using either a USB 3G dongle, or a Bluetooth-tethered 3G phone, enabling passengers to get online while on the move.

The clever bit, according to Ford, is the Nuance-developed voice command system, which will allow customers to control many of their car’s systems and their smartphone without having to take their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road.

Currently, Sync can understand over 10,000 phrases in 19 languages letting the driver do anything from dialling the missus, to having an SMS message read out loud, to selecting a music track to increasing the cabin temperature, all hands-free.

Software updates will increase the system’s ability over time, Ford said.

By focusing on smartphone integration rather than bespoke built-in technology, Ford hopes to make the system as future-proof as possible. A new Focus may have a lifespan of over a decade but consumer electronics can go from cutting edge to landfill in 18 months.

Ford Sync

If accidents do happen Sync will come with Emergency Assist. It uses the driver’s Bluetooth-connected phone to automatically dial the European Union emergency number 112 in the local language - determined by the GPS system. It's triggered by specific events: a front-end collision causing the airbag to deploy, or an emergency fuel pump shut-off, for example.

The system is entirely automatic unless countermanded by the driver and so sidesteps such problems as the driver being knocked unconscious or not being able to speak the local lingo.

All critical information including the location of the accident is passed to the emergency centre audibly while the system keeps you updated in your own preferred language. By making the call via the driver’s phone Ford is able to offer the service subscription-free though it didn’t say how much Sync will cost to start with. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.