Ford was one of the first automakers to offer in-car infotainment systems with voice-activated commands. More than just a convenience feature, SYNC hoped to use voice commands to let drivers keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel. The system has its benefits and drawbacks still, though Ford has made great efforts to make it ever more intuitive and quick-to-respond.
Still, SYNC has proven popular enough to make it into millions of Ford vehicles, and a new over-the-air software update is making it even more convenient, for Apple users at least. A new “eyes-free” software update to 5 million existing Fords lets drivers access Apple’s Siri digital assistant by simply holding the voice recognition button on the steering wheel.
“SYNC, Ford’s entertainment and communications system, was designed to be flexible and updatable, just like other mobile technologies, so our customers are able to get the most out of their smartphones while behind the wheel,” said Sherif Marakby, director, Ford Electronics and Electrical Systems Engineering. “Siri Eyes-Free is another great voice-activated feature that not only adds convenience but helps our customers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.”
Using this new feature, Ford drivers can press the voice recognition button and ask Siri a bunch of questions, like the weather or traffic, or issue commands such as playing music or making a phone call. The new Siri command can also give you commands through Apple Maps without requiring any physical input on your part. The new software update is being deployed across North America for all Ford vehicles with SYNC (also known as MyFord Touch) for model years 2011 through 2016.