Ford Motor Company has announced that it has produced the 10-millionth vehicle equipped with its award-winning SYNC in-car infotainment/connectivity system. The milestone should come as no surprise, as the general in-car infotainment space was pioneered by FoMoCo, with the automaker introducing SYNC to North American Ford vehicles in 2007 and to European buyers in 2012. In Europe, SYNC is now available on the EcoSport, B-MAX, Fiesta, Focus, C-MAX and Grand C-MAX, Kuga (Escape), Transit Custom. In North America, SYNC is available across all Ford models.
And while SYNC’s widespread success is remarkable, Ford looks at the system as much more than a technology. That’s because the system has changed The Blue Oval as a company.
“SYNC was more than just a technology breakthrough, it has reshaped how we see ourselves as a company,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln, speaking at the Connected Car Expo to open the 2013 Los Angeles International Auto Show.
“SYNC has helped us to think and act more like a technology company,” Farley acknowledged. “It has forever changed how we look at our business and how we respond to our customers. Ultimately, SYNC embodies what Ford is all about – going further to turn innovative ideas into products that are affordable, attainable and valuable to millions of people.”
Ford’s subsequent integration of AppLink into the SYNC system enabled drivers to use apps on their smartphones from behind the wheel using voice commands. Another feature of the SYNC system is Emergency Assistance, which can alert local emergency services operators of an accident. While the system only needs to dial a single number (911) and speak in one language in the U.S., it is capable of working in 26 languages spoken in 40 regions in Europe.
In 2011, The Blue Oval reached a milestone by producing the 3-millionth vehicle equipped with SYNC. By 2015, that number automaker estimates that it will have over 14 million vehicles on roads all over the world with SYNC, 3.5 million of which will be in Europe, and 7 million equipped with SYNC AppLink.
Perhaps more importantly, Ford isn’t planning on resting on its current successes, and is working on new enhancements that will help keep customers on the leading edge of in-car technology.
“At Ford, we’re focused on how data and connectivity can turn devices into intelligent systems that enable insight-driven action,” said Doug VanDagens, global director of Connected Services Solutions for Ford. “In the vehicle, this means the ability to connect to more data from more sources and use that to help the driver. It’s our goal to turn the connected vehicle into an intelligent vehicle.”
For instance, cloud connectivity, on-board sensors and data access are key components for creating this kind of intelligent vehicle experience, while other advances, such as natural language processing and machine learning, could help Ford SYNC provide a more natural interaction between car and driver, enabling a driving experience that’s more personalized and convenient.
Most recently, The Blue Oval’s luxury brand, Lincoln, announced that the new 2015 MKC crossover will feature a built-in always-on connectivity, enabling customers to perform vehicle commands such as remote start, lock/unlock, and more using a mobile application. This introduction of the always-on built-in internet connectivity marks a first for Lincoln, and it’s likely that Ford vehicles will also receive the functionality — perhaps as part of the SYNC system — in the near future.