Ford has told us where it sees the latest version of ‘Sync’ connectivity going; “Vehicles soon will prompt their owners to make a regular phone call, work out at a favoured time, or stop off at a much-loved coffee shop – if those activities are part of their regular routine”.
Making its debut in the all-new, all-electric Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s next-generation SYNC technology actually learns from driver behaviours to make smart suggestions. It combines conversational speech recognition, internet search results and machine learning intelligence to make time-saving recommendations based upon previous journeys. Ford showcased its new communication and entertainment system for the first time in Europe via an exclusive virtual event. Also revealed was Ford’s Remote Vehicle Setup – a feature that enables owners to personalise their new car even before it arrives – pre-configuring settings from preferred drive modes to ambient cabin colours. “We’ve worked obsessively to make sure that owning a Mustang Mach-E is the most personal, most connected driving experience achievable,” said Jan Schroll, connectivity manager, Ford of Europe. “The next-generation SYNC is the smartest version yet and will continue to get smarter the longer you own your car. It is designed to know what you need – and when you need it – so you can just sit back and enjoy the drive.” The system employs a machine learning algorithm to better understand drivers’ habits over time. Go to the gym every Friday? Call home on the way back from work? The next-generation SYNC system will learn each owner’s routines to make the right navigation and communication suggestions at the right time, enabling drivers to concentrate on the road.
With the Mustang Mach-E, owners will be able to pre-configure their new vehicle ahead of delivery using the new Remote Vehicle Setup feature. Owners simply create a personalised profile to save their favourite settings and frequent locations such as their place of work or a supermarket, and – for added peace of mind – identify nearby charging stations. Setup can be done online or using ‘FordPass’, the Ford app, to customise vehicle settings such as daily departure times, preferred cabin comfort settings and battery charge levels, among other options. Mustang Mach-E drive modes also can be personalised: choosing between Active, Whisper or Untamed will adjust the vehicle’s responsiveness on the outside, while on the inside the vehicle sound and ambient colours can be customised to match.
“One-size-fits-all doesn’t fit anyone,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford Global Consumer Trends and Futuring Manager. “Consumers want products, services and experiences that are uniquely suited to their needs – that is why Ford is enabling pre-delivery personalisation on the Mustang Mach-E. For those who take advantage of the feature, no two Mustang Mach-Es will ever be exactly alike”. Mach-E owners also can use their smartphone to unlock their vehicle. With the Phone-as-a-Key feature enabled, the vehicle will instantly recognise who is approaching, unlock the doors and enable their individual driver preferences and settings. If the driver’s smartphone battery runs dry, they can simply enter their personal passcode onto a keypad on the car door.
The next generation of SYNC will also deliver advanced conversational speech recognition allowing drivers to focus on driving instead of remembering set commands. The system understands natural, everyday speech in 15 European languages, enabling owners to talk to their vehicle just as they would a passenger, letting them control everything from entertainment and navigation features, to cabin environment and phone calls. To provide the best responses to commands and questions Ford says the next generation of SYNC complements on‑board intelligence with results from internet searches, ensuring that requests for the nearest restaurant or closest chemist are as accurate and up to date as possible.
The new next-generation SYNC system will be available on select Ford vehicles in Europe beginning with the all-electric Mustang Mach-E. The Mach-E spearheads a rapidly expanding range of electrified vehicles from Ford, and is one of 17 new electrified vehicles the company is introducing to Europe before the end of 2021.