|Original author(s)||Ford Motor Company|
|Developer(s)||Ford Motor Company|
|Initial release||September 2007|
|Operating system||Windows Embedded Automotive
|Available in||English, French, Spanish, Portuguese|
|License||Proprietary commercial software|
Ford Sync (stylized Ford SYNC) is a factory-installed, integrated in-vehicle communications and entertainment system that allows users to make hands-free telephone calls, control music and perform other functions with the use of voice commands. The system consists of applications and user interfaces developed by Ford and other third-party developers. The first two generations (Ford Sync and MyFord Touch) run on the Windows Embedded Automotive operating system designed by Microsoft, while the third generation (Sync 3) will run on the QNX software from BlackBerry Limited.
Ford first announced the release of SYNC in January 2007 at the Detroit International Auto Show. SYNC was released into the retail market in 2007 when Ford installed the technology in twelve Ford group vehicles (2008 model) in North America.
As of 2014, SYNC is offered in North America as a standard feature in most Ford and all Lincoln models.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Compatibility
- 3 Applications
- 4 Agreement with Microsoft
- 5 SYNC versions
- 6 System hardware
- 7 Research
- 8 Awards and recognition
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Bibliography
- 12 External links
Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates announced the SYNC partnership between Ford and Microsoft at the annual North American International Auto Show in January 2007.
The Ford SYNC technology was promoted as a new product that provided drivers with the ability to operate Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and digital media players in their vehicles using voice commands, the vehicle's steering wheel, and radio controls. Later, new technology was added to SYNC in which text messages received by the driver are "vocalized" by a digitized female voice device named "Samantha". SYNC's text message function also has the ability to interpret approximately one hundred shorthand messages, such as "LOL", and will read "swear words", but does not decipher acronyms that have been considered by the designers to be "obscene".
Certain voice commands, such as "Turn-by-turn directions", "Vehicle Health Report", "Weather" and climate control commands are not available in some countries such as Canada due to compatibility issues. For example, many commands are not available because there is no French equivalent for a command in English. Ford Canada expects to address these issues in upcoming versions of the software after the issues are worked out in detail, but there does not appear to be a firm release date.
SYNC has various mobile-integration capabilities, including "Push to Talk" on the steering wheel, wireless transfer of contacts between a mobile phone and the on-board phone book, as well as various advanced calling features, such as caller ID, call waiting, conference calling, a caller log, a list of contacts, a signal strength icon, and a phone battery charge icon. Personal ring tones can also be assigned to identify specific callers.
Audible SMS messages
SYNC can convert a user's SMS messages to audio and read them out loud to the user through the vehicle's speaker system. This feature is carrier dependent as well as dependent on the device of the user. The feature is supported by several phone operating systems, including the iPhone, most Android models, and the former Windows Mobile. This feature is also dependent on the phone support Bluetooth Message Access Profile.
Digital music player support
SYNC can connect to popular digital music players via Bluetooth or a USB connection. Users can browse through music collections by genre, album, artist, and song title using voice commands. With certain devices, SYNC is also capable of playing protected content (for example Zune Pass downloads), provided that usage rights on the device are current.
The 911 Assist application places a direct call to a local 911 emergency operator in the event of a serious accident with an air bag deployment. Before initiating the emergency 911 call, SYNC will provide a 10-second window to allow the driver or passenger to decide whether to cancel the call. If not manually cancelled within the 10-second window, SYNC will place the emergency call. A pre-recorded message will play when the call is answered, and occupants in the vehicle will then be able to communicate directly with the 911 operator.
The first set of announced applications for the U.S. included Pandora Radio, Stitcher Radio, iHeartRadio, OpenBeak, NPR News, Slacker Radio, TuneIn Radio and Ford SYNC Destinations. Rhapsody announced AppLink capability of its Android-based mobile app in January 2013. Spotify was made available to iPhone users in March 2013.
Traffic, Directions and Information
Traffic, Directions and Information is an application that provides the user with traffic alerts, turn-by-turn directions and information about topics such as weather, sports, news and 411 business search. Ford announced on May 27, 2009 that the Traffic, Directions and Information application would be free for three years to the original owner of 2010 model year SYNC equipped vehicles. The information for traffic alerts and Turn-By-Turn Directions are provided by INRIX and Telenav.
Vehicle Health Reports
After setting their personal preferences online, users can access free car reports at any time using SYNC. This feature was released with SYNC version 2.0. All SYNC owners have access to upgrade to this version.
Ford Work Solutions
The Ford Work Solution is a collection of technologies debuted in April 2009. Ford Work Solutions is marketed towards professionals who buy the Ford F150, F-Series Super Duty, E-Series van and Transit Connect. Magneti Marelli developed the in-dash computer system that is unique to trucks equipped with Ford Work Solutions. The applications included in the Ford Work Solution are Crew Chief, Garmin Nav, Mobile Office and Tool Link.
The Crew Chief application provides real time vehicle location and maintenance tracking. Crew Chief can monitor numerous vehicle diagnostic functions including tire pressure, water in fuel, airbag faults and the check engine light. Users can also create alerts to monitor things such as excessive speeding.
The LogMeIn application allows users to remotely access an office computer using a data connection provided by Sprint. The user can open applications on the remote computer, make updates and print documents using a Ford-certified, Bluetooth-enabled keyboard and printer.
Tool Link is an application that enables a user to take physical inventory of objects present in the truck bed using radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. A user attaches RFID tags to an object, allowing the SYNC system to detect the object's presence or absence and noting the object's status on the in-dash computer display.
Users can create "job lists" of objects to verify that tools needed for a certain job are present in the truck before heading to a job site. At the end of the job, the system can inventory items in the truck to ensure that no tools are left on the job site. Ford developed the Tool Link application with power tool manufacturer DeWalt along with ThingMagic.
Agreement with Microsoft
Ford had exclusive use of the Microsoft Auto embedded operating system that powered the early versions of SYNC until the exclusivity agreement expired in November 2008. The Ford-developed user interface elements and Ford-developed applications remain exclusive to Ford group vehicles and are not available to other manufacturers using Windows Embedded Automotive for the basis of their in-vehicle infotainment systems.
SYNC Gen1, Sept. 2007-Nov. 2012
SYNC v1, which debuted September 2007, offered the ability to play certain entertainment media, the ability to connect to certain mobile phones and digital audio players and to utilize SMS. In January 2008, SYNC v2 was released, which enabled two new Ford developed applications: 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Report. SYNC v3, released in April 2009, enabled the Traffic, Directions and Information application. Later that month, Ford Work Solutions, a collection of five applications marketed towards professionals who buy Ford trucks, was added. The applications included in the Ford Work Solution were Crew Chief, Garmin Nav, LogMeIn and Tool Link. SYNC v4 and v5 were released in January 2010 and January 2011, respectively, and enabled the Ford developed MyFord Touch application for certain 2011 model year vehicles as well as SYNC AppLink capabilities for certain 2011 model year vehicles. The latest version of SYNC was released in November 2012 by Ford and is only applicable to certain vehicles and configurations. In March 2015 most older Sync units from Model year 2010 and later received an upgrade to Sync v4.4, adding the improved Bluetooth compatibility, track display and Applink. The newest version of Sync has some compatibility issues, and many users are reporting problems with the system. A downgrade is not possible, and Ford is planning to release a fix sometime soon. The issue seems to affect a number of iOS & USB device users as the Sync system continues to index the music stored on the device until the internal memory is full and the system crashes.  Version 4.4.1 is now available.
On December 11, 2014, Ford announced that the upcoming Sync 3, which will replace MyFord Touch, will have simpler features and will be powered by QNX software by BlackBerry Limited instead of Microsoft. The Sync 3 name will be used for both Ford and Lincoln models, though Lincoln's will have a different layout. Over half of Ford's North American vehicles will have Sync 3 by the end of 2016 and will be expanded globally afterwards; vehicles not equipped with Sync 3 will be equipped with the original Ford Sync. Ford cited issues with Microsoft's complex software dragging down its scores with Consumer Reports and other consumer magazines being a reason it switched to BlackBerry.
The SYNC computer, which Ford calls the Accessory Protocol Interface Module (APIM), is housed separately from the head unit, called the Audio Control Module (ACM), and interfaces with all vehicle audio sources as well as the high-speed and medium-speed vehicle CAN-buses. The first generation of the Ford's SYNC computer was designed in cooperation with Continental AG and is built around a 400 MHz Freescale i.MX31L processor with an ARM 11 CPU core, uses 256 MB of 133 MHz Mobile DDR SDRAM from Micron and 2 GB of Samsung NAND flash memory, runs the Windows Embedded Automotive operating system, and uses speech technology by Nuance Communications. Utilizing the USB port, SYNC's Microsoft Windows Auto-based operating system can be updated to work with new personal electronic devices. A Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) BlueCore4 chip provides Bluetooth connectivity with compatible phones and devices. SYNC's major circuit board chips cost roughly US$27.80, which allows Ford to profitably sell the system at a much lower price than competitive offerings.
In 2011, Shutko and Tijerina reviewed large naturalistic studies on cars (Dingus and Klauer, 2008; Klauer et al., 2006; Young and Schreiner, 2009), heavy good vehicles (Olsen at el, 2008) and commercial vehicles and buses (Hickman et al., 2010) in field operational tests (Sayer et al., 2005, 2007), and concluded that:
- Most of the collisions and near-misses that occur involve inattention as a contributing factor;
- Visual inattention – that is, looking away from the road scene – is the single most significant factor contributing to crash and near-crash involvement;
- Cognitive distraction associated with listening to or talking on a handheld or hands-free device is associated with real world crashes and near-miss events to a lesser extent than is commonly believed, and such distractions may even enhance safety in some instances.
Awards and recognition
- Popular Mechanics ranked SYNC number four on its list of the "Top 10 Most Brilliant Gadgets of 2007".
- Popular Science magazine awarded SYNC a "Best of What's New Award" for 2008 in November 2007.
- Android Auto
- BMW Assist
- Hyundai Blue Link
- Kia UVO
- MSN Direct
- MyFord Touch
- Toyota Entune
- Toyota G-Book
- Windows Embedded Automotive
- About SYNC 2010.
- Microsoft 2010, p. 17.
- Microsoft 2010, p. 16.
- Ford dumps Microsoft for Blackberry for Sync 3 USA Today (12/11/2014)
- Moran 2007-01-08.
- AutomotiveWorld.com 2007.
- "Is Ford SYNC The Voice Recognition Benchmark?". Auto Trends. 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- Popular Mechanics 2007.
- Nunez 2007-01-07.
- How to use SYNC® AppLink
- Barnes, Noelle (7 January 2013). "Rhapsody Hits the Road with Ford SYNC AppLink".
- Truta, Filip. "Spotify 0.6.2 Brings Ford SYNC AppLink Support to iOS Customers".
- "The Ford App Catalogue".
- "Ford SYNC gets navigation tools from Telenav". 9 January 2009.
- Ford 2009-09.
- Ford 2009-03-03.
- Microsoft 2009-03-09.
- Tutor 2009-09-17.
- "New Sync Update available SYNC v4.4". Ford F150 Forum – Community of Ford Truck Fans.
- "Sync problem? Index is full? - Ford F150 Forum - Community of Ford Truck Fans".
- "New Sync Software Update Available". 2015.
- Mustang Sync Kit 2008, p. 2.
- "Connector: C3342 Accessory Protocol Interface Module (APIM)". Ford Motor Company. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
- Bray, Hiawatha (2007-11-12). "Microsoft, Ford team up on voice controls for drivers". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
- Richard Robinson, iSuppli (2008-04-04). "Under the Hood: Mini-teardown reveals Ford Sync's economical design". Embedded.com. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
- Chaney, Rich (2008-06-12). "Mobile DDR spurs low-cost, low-power automotive electronics designs". EETimes, Micron Technology. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
- "Ford and Microsoft in Sync for in-car infotainment". CNET. CBS Interactive.
- Shutko, J. and Tijerina, L., (2011), Ford's Approach to Managing Driver Attention: SYNC and MyFord Touch, Ergonomics In Design, Vol. 19, No. 4, October 2011, pp. 13-16
- Popular Science 2007.
- Moran, Tim (2007-01-08). "Out of Sync". nytimes.com. The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
Ford’s announcement on Sunday of its relationship with Microsoft...
- Nunez, Alex (2007-01-07). "Detroit Auto Show: Ford Sync". autoblog.com. AOL Inc. Archived from the original on 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
Sync is fluent in English, French and Spanish.
- Tutor, Chris (2009-09-17). "REPORT: Ford could have problems with SYNC patents". autoblog.com. AOL Inc. Archived from the original on 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
"The "SYNC" name is a Ford trademark. It is a Ford brand, and therefore cannot be used by anyone else, including being applied to the Microsoft Auto operating platform.
- "About SYNC". ford.com. Ford Motor Company. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
SYNC is an easy-to-use in-car connectivity system that allows you to make hands-free calls and control your music and other functions with simple voice commands.
- "Availability". ford.com. Ford Motor Company. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
View the latest SYNC-equipped vehicles
- "A Technical Companion to Windows Embedded Automotive 7 (final)" (PDF). microsoft.com. Microsoft Corporation. July 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
Ford SYNC is a factory-installed, fully integrated in-vehicle communications and entertainment system that provides drivers with hands-free voice-activated control over mobile phones and digital music players.
- "Best of What's New 2007". popsci.com. Popular Science. 2007. Archived from the original on 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
Automotive – Ford and Microsoft Sync – Cars and gadgets play nice
- "Ford Work Solutions" (PDF). media.ford.com. Ford Motor Company. September 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
Ford Work Solutions is a collection of affordable technologies that provide Ford truck customers connectivity, flexibility, visibility and security to better run key aspects of their business
- "Ford Work Solutions Expands Capability and Productivity of America's Favorite Work Trucks". media.ford.com. Ford Motor Company. 2009-03-03. Archived from the original on 2009-06-20. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
...provides full high-speed Internet access via the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network...
- "Ford Work Solutions Expands Capability and Productivity of America's Favorite Work Trucks". media.ford.com. Ford Motor Company. 2009-03-03. Archived from the original on 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
...provides full high-speed Internet access via the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network...
- Mike Rowe (Host), Paul Russell (Marketing Manager, Ford Work Solutions) (2009-03-30). Microsoft Showcase: Ford Work Solutions with Ford Sync powered by Microsoft (Web video). Microsoft Corporation. Archived from the original (Silverlight) on 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
This is a system called Tool Link that we developed with DeWalt.
- "The Top 10 Most Brilliant Gadgets of 2007". popularmechanics.com. Hearst Communication, Inc. 2007-10-01. Archived from the original on 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
Ford's $395 Sync is essentially a small computer running the Microsoft Auto operating system that wirelessly integrates all of your mobile gadgets.
- "US: Ford demonstrates new 'Sync' system at Detroit motor show". automotiveworld.com. automotive world ltd. 2007-01-08. Archived from the original on 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
Sync will become available in North America for the following 12 Ford Group vehicles...
- "2009 Mustang Sync Kit Manual SK9R3J-14F013-AA" (PDF). partscheap.com. Ford Motor Company. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
The Sync system is comprised of the following: Accessory protocol interface module (APIM)...
- Ford SYNC official website
- Airbiquity official website – Provider of SYNC data connectivity via aqLink wireless data communications technology
- INRIX official website – Provider of SYNC navigation traffic data
- Microlise official website – Ford Work Solutions Crew Chief application partner
- Nuance official website – Provider of SYNC voice recognition software
- ThingMagic official website – Provider of Ford Work Solutions RFID tags
- EB Automotive official website – Provider of Sync applications such as 911 assist, Vehicle Health Report and others
- HowStuffWorks – Ford SYNC