Ford brings ML, OTA to Sync infotainment system

Ford brings ML, OTA to Sync infotainment system

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

At a virtual event, Ford presented the next generation of its voice-controlled infotainment system Sync. Among the most important innovations is a feature that allows the car owner to remotely personalize and preset various settings, such as the air conditioning, the entertainment system or preferred driving modes. In addition, there is an improved voice recognition function that accesses cloud services. This feature offers virtually unlimited computing and storage capacity. In addition, the system is now capable of learning and can, for example, make route suggestions based on previous trips. In addition, the system’s software can now be updated via online connection.

The focus during the development of the system was on the greatest possible individualization, explains Jan Schroll, Connectivity Manager at Ford of Europe.

The new generation of Sync software has been rewritten from scratch to reflect Ford’s new, customer-centric design philosophy, they say. The first vehicle to be equipped with the new Sync generation will be the electric version of the Ford Mustang (model designation Mach E). The Mach E is scheduled for market launch in early 2021. In this vehicle, the new Sync version will enable the adjustment of more than 80 vehicle settings, from interior temperature and seat position to ambient lighting. The system can identify individual drivers using their smartphones or keys and adopt their personal settings as soon as they approach the vehicle – even before they get in.

The new Ford SYNC system uses machine learning to understand drivers’ habits better and better over time. It learns the routines of each driver and suggests the right navigation and communication suggestions at the right time. The car thus understands better and better what the owners like. Based on this, it can suggest when it is time to call the mother or navigate to the gym, for example.

In the Mach-E, the system is linked to a vertically oriented 15.5-inch full HD display with touchscreen function. The operating menus are structured in such a way that the driver is usually one or at most two touches away from his next application or information. The large screen enables the simultaneous display of different applications, so that, for example, accepting a call while navigating at an intersection no longer leads to missed turn-by-turn instructions on the screen.

With the Ford Mustang Mach-E, customers can pre-configure many of the features of their new vehicle via app before the vehicle is delivered. Among other things, a personalized profile with photo or avatar can be created; in addition, favorite locations such as the supermarket, certain charging stations or even the home and work location can be saved. Possible settings also include preferred comfort programming in the vehicle interior and desired charging schedules for the vehicle’s electric battery. Configuration is possible either online or via the FordPass smartphone app. The personalization profile is stored in the cloud, so that the settings are transferred to the vehicle when the owner plugs his smartphone into his vehicle. The driving style can also be adapted to the driver’s wishes: The Mach-E offers three driving modes, which are selected via the touch screen. These vary according to the driving mode, for example the driving behavior, the displays or the ambient lighting.

By using cloud resources, the system understands everyday commands in 15 European languages. In this way, entertainment and navigation functions can be controlled, including phone calls and vehicle settings, without taking your hands off the steering wheel.

The Ford developers have also worked on improving the use of the electrical infrastructure and, above all, have improved the accuracy of range prediction. In addition, numerous relevant categories of information were incorporated into the infotainment system. For example, the system provides information on where and when the car can or must be recharged on the road. The Mach-E is the first Ford model ever to improve the accuracy of range predictions via cloud connectivity. The “Intelligent Range” technology helps to avoid unplanned charging stops. The calculations also include previous driving behavior, weather forecasts and data from other Ford electric vehicles to provide a more accurate indication of remaining range.

Ford has contracted the service provider TomTom for the real-time display of traffic data. The traffic data is updated every 30 seconds.

The Mach E is considered the most visible symbol of Ford’s electrification strategy. The company plans to introduce 17 new battery electric models in Europe by the end of 2021.

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Ford, Toyota mull joint approach for app integration

Ford Motor Co. picks Wind River software for over-the-air updates

Ford equips volume models with Mobileye technology

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