Sunday, November 3, 2019

Ford Shows Off SYNC 4, Coming to Select Vehicles by Next Year


Ford previewed the next-generation of its SYNC communications and entertainment system, which is faster, easier, and simpler than ever to use.

Featuring cloud-based connectivity and conversational voice recognition, SYNC 4 delivers comprehensive search results and more functionality. This includes cloud-based optional navigation to keep up with the latest traffic information, the ability to quickly browse digital owner’s manuals, and wireless compatibility with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and AppLink apps from smartphones and mobile devices.

Ford’s new SYNC 4 system will feature different looks and capabilities depending on the vehicle, screen size and customer needs, and all versions will provide users with the power to multi-task efficiently and view the information they need at the right time without needing to swap or tab through multiple screens.

On all-new available 12-inch screens, multi-tasking will be enabled by splitting the screen into larger and smaller windows. With large 15.5-inch screens, SYNC 4 features the addition of Adaptive Dash Cards. Instead of having to navigate menus every time you want to launch an app, recently used or popular features are listed horizontally underneath the main portion of the screen in individual dash cards. These cards display helpful information such as the next step on your route, but they are interactive as well. You can pause or skip songs directly through the card instead of having to bring up your music player, and similarly you can view your phone status or hang up calls through the card as well.

With cloud connectivity, SYNC 4’s navigation is fully connected to and informed by the internet with maps that are frequently refreshed with the latest available traffic and construction information, ensuring customers are getting the most up-to-date info for their routes. Ford also equipped SYNC 4 with optional navigation with the ability to share parking space availability and prices.

And while SYNC 4 will rely heavily on the cloud, it will still retain on-board processing power to minimize performance issues in dead zones – meaning your road trip is in good hands even when you go off the beaten path.

Available machine learning capability also means SYNC 4 can automatically learn your preferences and make helpful suggestions at the right time based on previous usage. SYNC 4 will make destination suggestions based on your previous navigation behavior and can even prompt you to make phone calls to people that you frequently speak to.

For the first time, Ford is implementing wireless implementation of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as SYNC AppLink apps such as Waze or Ford+Alexa.

Customers will continue to be able to use both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to enable simultaneous operation of in-vehicle entertainment and mobile device navigation while providing calls, music, and other features to be controlled through the vehicle's display. Available wireless charging capability also means you can juice up your compatible smartphone even while leaving the cords at home.

In addition to these features, Convenience Controls enabled by AppLink allow for the control of various vehicle features when equipped, right from your smartphone, such as lighting, climate or the radio.

Finding information about your vehicle will also become easier than ever with SYNC 4, which debuts with an all-new digital owner’s manual. Instead of flipping through dozens of pages, the digital owner’s manual will include in-depth information on vehicle features, streamable how-to videos to help you learn, and more – all through a searchable database.

To aid the development of the new interfaces seen in next-generation SYNC, a dedicated Ford team dove into a process that helped them identify meaningful ways to improve the way people interact with their vehicles. The team developed several “customer journeys” – such as someone getting ready for a night on the town or a family preparing for a road trip – as a way to put themselves in the shoes of customers and to determine the most useful improvements.

As part of this research, which included interviewing consumers and gathering their reactions to different features, Ford gained valuable insight into customer preferences around screen size and interface design, as well as the ways in which people want their vehicles to get to know them.

The new SYNC 4 system will be available on select Ford vehicles starting in 2020.

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