Way back in December 2014 we posted a report titled "As Expected Ford Dumps Microsoft's Car Platform for CarPlay." At the time Ford had announced that it updated its Sync in-dash infotainment platform that basically replaced Microsoft's technology with BlackBerry's QNX technology as the foundation for its next generation of car experiences which opened the door for Apple's Carplay. Today at CES, Ford officially announced that their SYNC connectivity system includes Apple's Carplay.
Ford is expanding its SYNC connectivity system, adding Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE and several new AppLink apps to help millions of consumers stay connected behind the wheel and even when they are away from their cars.
According to Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services, "SYNC allows customers to bring the smartphone technology they're comfortable with into a vehicle and use it without hassle. With SYNC, we move at our customers' pace – making it easy for them to maintain a connected lifestyle no matter their choice of smartphone, apps or services inside and outside their vehicle."
With more than 15 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on roads around the world today and 43 million expected by 2020, Ford's industry-leading communications and entertainment technology is offering customers even more connectivity. Connectivity is one part of Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.
Starting this year, owners of SYNC 3-equipped vehicles will have more choice in how they access their smartphones in the car. iPhone users can activate Apple CarPlay, and Android users can activate Android Auto, two interfaces built specifically for those types of smartphones.
In addition, new SYNC Connect technology powered by 4G LTE gives owners the ability to remotely access features of their car. Owners can program a remote start, unlock doors, check fuel level or locate a parked vehicle via their smartphone.
In North America, Ford is making Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available on all 2017 vehicles equipped with SYNC 3, starting with the all-new Ford Escape. Owners of 2016 vehicles equipped with SYNC 3 will have an opportunity to upgrade later in the year.
SYNC Connect technology expands globally, reaching more than 20 million customers by 2020.
Take your Apps with You
With AppLink – the SYNC feature enabling drivers to voice-control smartphone apps from the driver's seat – Ford is making it even easier to create unique, personalized experiences.
The first apps using available vehicle information such as GPS location and mileage will be available this year, taking the in-car app experience to a more personal and customized level. Apps include:
AAA/CAA: The app for AAA members in the U.S. and CAA members in Canada uses vehicle GPS data to allow users to access fuel prices, locate fueling stations and use the Here2there route planning feature, which includes traffic, on the move
Concur: Upon starting a Ford vehicle, Concur users receive a prompt asking if they want to log a business trip. The app then starts clocking mileage from the odometer using vehicle data. Each time the car is turned off, this constitutes one trip recorded in the Trace Trip Journal. At the end of the day, the journal is complete, and the driver is prompted to reconcile the day's trips
Eventseeker: Users can discover events from behind the wheel that fit their interest profile based on vehicle location data, finding out more about artists playing nearby, wherever they travel in their Ford vehicle
Cityseeker: Vehicle GPS data brings the best restaurants, nightlife and other attractions in more than 500 cities worldwide directly to the driver
Tencent Chelian: Drivers can access China's most popular social media platform.