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Ford Gives Drivers Safe Alternative to Hand-Held Texting

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On: Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 11:44AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Gives Drivers Safe Alternative to Hand-Held Texting

Say what you want about Ford, but no one can argue the fact that the company is very progressive—for all of you Ford haters—yes, that includes you, John Welch!  The voice recognition (VR) technology that is a part of Ford’s SYNC system is said to be more effective in identifying commands than any other system of its type, recognizing over 10,000 commands without having to pass through a single menu.

One of the problems with other VR systems has been figuring out which specific commands are required to enter a destination or make a call. The Nuance system (utilized by Ford SYNC) has implemented a system that can use a variety of different phrases that let users request the same command for example, "play track" or "play song" will both command the same action.

Now Ford’s new technology for the 2011 MyFord Touch driver connect features a "Do Not Disturb" button to enable motorists to block incoming phone calls and text messages while driving. The option can be selected for the duration of the trip, or for times when there is heavy traffic and the driver does not want to be distracted.

Another innovative feature that Ford has added is the new Bluetooth Message Access Profile (MAP) into SYNC for all MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles, to enable drivers to have their texts read aloud to them while driving.

BlackBerry smartphones will adopt MAP and enable SYNC-audible text messaging capability to work with all new smartphones; hopefully other phone manufacturers will do the same as the legality of texting while driving is considered to be a serious concern nationwide.

Some lawmakers feel that texting should be banned in all states because actual road tests have proven that texting while driving is as dangerous (or more) than drunken driving.

Road tests were performed with cell phones in view and the test drivers were asked to send a text message while attempting to drive on a road course. Immediately the test drivers went way off course, and eventually went completely off the road; the speed was very radical: going faster, then slower. Test drivers were even recorded driving on the wrong side of the road! Results of the test were convincing that texting while driving caused the driver to keep his eyes on the phone longer than they were focused on the road, resulting in more reckless and dangerous driving than was observed in drunken drivers.

As the issue of texting has produced a proposed federal ban and state-level legislation banning hand-held texting while driving, Ford Motor Company has started to improve its SYNC technology by adding new and improved features to give drivers hands-free options to replace texting, in order to keep the focus where it belongs—on the road.

According to Ford’s chief communications media engineer, “Text messaging has become the default communications method for consumers of all ages; the power of SYNC voice control combined with Ford’s latest connectivity improvements will reduce the temptation to pick up the phone and take your eyes off the road, providing a safer solution for the use of mobile devices in the car.”

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