Ford adds Apple CarPlay, Android Auto to Sync 3 – Detroit Free Press
Ford hopes to catch up with competitors such as General Motors and Hyundai with plans to offer Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE and more apps on 2017 model vehicles equipped with the Sync 3 infotainment system later this year.
The news was to be made today in Las Vegas in conjunction with CES 2016, a huge electronics show increasingly being used by automakers to announce technology advancements. Ford has numerous executives, including CEO Mark Fields, at the show and many announcements are expected this week.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be offered in North America on all 2017 Ford vehicles equipped with Sync 3, starting with the Escape. Owners of 2016 models with Sync 3 can upgrade their systems later in the year.
“Sync allows customers to bring the smartphone technology they’re comfortable with into a vehicle and use it without hassle,” said Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services.
In May, GM CEO Mary Barra announced the option of plugging either Google’s Android Auto or Apple CarPlay into the vehicle’s touchscreen would be available on 14 Chevrolet models beginning with the 2016 models that went on sale in late summer.
And Hyundai announced it would offer Android Auto in the 2016 Sonata, but the feature was delayed and is now promised by the end of March.
But both are ahead of Ford’s plans, which add the features to 2017 models, most of which go on sale in the fall.
Adding Apple CarPlay to Sync gives iPhone users access to maps and messages. The automaker already announced that phone and music commands can be done by touchscreen or using Siri.
For those with Android smartphones, Android Auto is used to access Google voice search, maps, music and other features through the touchscreen or controls on the steering wheel.
AppLink for Ford allows drivers to use the vehicle’s voice commands to control approved apps on their smartphone.
The first apps using the car’s GPS and mileage will be available this year, including access to AAA member services in the U.S. and CAA in Canada to find gas stations, their fuel prices and use Here2there route planning.
Ford also adds Concur, an expense app used by many companies. The app will log the mileage in the Trace Trip Journal.
Other apps include Eventseeker, which locates nearby events of interest; Cityseeker, which finds restaurants, nightlife and attractions; and Tencent Chelian, which accesses China’s QQ social media platform.
Another enhancement is new Sync Connect technology that uses 4G LTE to provide the owner with the ability to remotely access his or her vehicle to unlock and start it, check the fuel levels and locate the vehicle in a parking lot. It can all be programmed through the owner’s smartphone.
“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,” Butler said.
Ford has more than 15 million vehicles on the road with Sync now and expects that to grow to 43 million by 2020. Sync 3 is the third generation of the technology that helped introduce Ford as a technology leader in 2007 but which also hurt the company’s overall quality scores when the second generation — known as MyFord Touch — was marred by bugs and frustrated some customers. Sync 3 was designed to be more efficient and intuitive.
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