Ford has announced a new Sync Connect service, which allows users to remotely control and monitor certain features of their car. Tesla already has a similar app, but Sync Connect brings the functionality to a broader marker. Users can remotely locate, unlock, lock and start their car.
Sync is Ford's in-car communications and infotainment system. Now on its third iteration, it allows users to do things like make hands-free phone calls, play and control music and view directions. Ford says it is also the industry's first system to provide voice-activated control of paired smartphones as widely and affordably as it does.
The Connect feature of Sync is said to be part of Ford's aim to deliver the "next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data." For security, a two-step authentication process is required to enable Sync Connect, with the user having to confirm setup on the both vehicle's touch screen and on the mobile app.
One the system is up and running, the app connects to a built-in modem in the vehicle. The app can then be used to check the location of a vehicle on a map (for example, where it is parked), lock and unlock the doors, start the engine remotely to warm it up on cold days and check fuel, oil, battery and tire pressure levels.
Sync Connect will debut next year in the new Ford Escape, with other vehicles to follow. The app will be available for both iOS and Android mobile devices.