Ford Motor Co in the US announced earlier this week that it was expanding the vocabulary options in SYNC to include 19 languages, one of which is Australian English.
Ford Australia’s Sinead McAlary confirmed Australia would get its first taste of SYNC in the new Focus, although she admitted it would not arrive until 12-18 months after the small car’s local launch.
With the Focus due Down Under in the third quarter of 2011, Ms McAlary said Ford Australia was hopeful SYNC-equipped vehicles would arrive in local showrooms in the second half of 2012.
The Ford SYNC system is a factory-installed, fully integrated in-vehicle communications and entertainment system. Incorporating a Microsoft Windows Embedded Automotive operating system, SYNC consists of applications and user interfaces developed by Ford and third-party developers and allows voice-controlled activation of a number of connectivity devices.
Current Ford SYNC features include:
- Voice-activated, hands-free calling
- Automatic phonebook transfer (from phone to vehicle)
- Uninterrupted connections – automatically transfers calls from phone to car without having to hang up
- Support for advanced calling features (caller ID, call waiting, conference calling, signal strength, battery charge, etc.)
- Personal ring tones
- Text to audio SMS messages
- Full Bluetooth digital music player support
- Instant voice recognition
A number of applications are also available including:
- 911 Assist (automatic emergency call system)
- AppLink (allows approved smartphone apps to run through the system)
- Traffic, Directions and Information
- Vehicle health reports
Ms McAlary said Ford was currently working through what elements of the system would work in different markets. Ford Australia has had no role in the development of SYNC to this point.
She said the functionality of the Australian SYNC would not just depend on the versatility of the system, but also on the compliance of systems outside of Ford that link to SYNC to provide it with information.
Ms McAlary said there could be some differences between the US version of SYNC and the Australian version, but insisted the core of the system would stay the same.
Ford SYNC is a separate system to the newer MyFord Touch, which gained much attention at the recent motor show in Detroit. MyFord Touch helps the vehicle interact with the world around it and includes advanced internet and traffic navigation systems, while SYNC is a more contained unit specialising in media connectivity. SYNC can operate either independently of MyFord Touch or in collaboration with it.
The Fiesta and Mondeo are currently available with a partial Bluetooth voice control systems in Australia, but Ford says SYNC will offer considerably more features when it arrives in the Focus.
Ms McAlary said SYNC was under investigation for integration into other vehicles offered by Ford Australia, but said it was not something the brand was prepared to comment on at this time.