Ford has announced an updated version of its Sync in-car communications and entertainment system. The automaker says the new version has an improved smartphone-like interface, along with better performance and speech recognition capabilities.
Sync 3 is designed for hands-free control, with what Ford calls "more conversational voice recognition." For example, users can tell the system to play a certain song, album or artist, and can switch between radio stations with simple voice instructions. The system is also said to have a better understanding of human language and how people refer to certain places, such as shortened names for airports.
In addition to improved speech recognition functions, the Sync 3 interface has been redesigned with a new touchscreen and a more smartphone-like layout. "We considered all the modern smartphones and mobile operating systems and created something familiar but unique," says Ford's global director of human machine interface, Parrish Hanna.
In doing so, Ford says it has reduced on-screen complexity, used familiar tile-like icons for menu navigation and included swipe and pinch-to-zoom gesture controls. From the home screen, users can select navigation, audio and phone options, whilst a quick access tray is also available.
Sync's AppLink functionality automatically recognizes compatible apps on a user's smartphone, and allows them to be controlled via voice and steering wheel buttons. For iPhone users, Siri Eyes-Free control integration means that Siri can be launched by holding down the "Push to Talk" button on the steering wheel.
The Sync software can now be updated via a home Wi-Fi network if it will reach the vehicle. As with previous versions of the software, it is also possible for emergency services to be automatically called in the event of an accident, with the car's location and crash information relayed.
Gizmag featured the current Sync system when we test drove the Ford Fiesta ST earlier this year. The video below provides an introduction to Sync 3.