It’s been all over the news in the past year or so… people who are buying vehicles who are upset because the electronics don’t seem to work. On one hand there are consumers who are looking for something to get from point A to point B, while others are wanting to push buttons, touch a screen and give some voice commands to take them down the road.
Some critics suggested that Ford Motor Company had seriously erred when it introduced its MyFord Touch System – the latest evolution of its new in-vehicle technology – in the new Explorer, Edge and some Focuses. They have been listening and creating solutions.
This path started with the partnership of Microsoft with its Sync Technology and Ford in January 2007. At first the Sync system offered a way to let your vehicle use Bluetooth technology to extend your phone’s ability to make and receive calls hands free through the vehicle’s sound system.
Now Sync has evolved into so much more. Ford is one of the few auto manufacturers who have ventured into the technical wilderness. Few auto companies want to be the first to bring something to the market. First editions sometimes contain mistakes and errors.
Pioneers take a chance on the new technology. Sometimes those “early adopters” use those newly introduced items in ways that are much different than the original intended use. In other words, the “early adopters” help reshape the tool into something even newer. Some early users maybe didn’t get a good overview of how to use the system, and so they may not understand how to use the system to its best. They may give up on the system and say it’s just not worth it.
Ford will be introducing a new version update of MyFord Touch with the 2013 Escape and in the new Flex and Taurus. Existing owners of MyFord Touch vehicles will soon be receiving from Ford a USB flash drive with the new software upgrade. Stop and think about that for a minute. That would be like Microsoft sending all of those people who bought its Vista operating system a new software upgrade like Windows 7 at no charge. So Ford is an auto manufacturer and an innovator of the driving experience that is writing software to make the whole experience a lot more enjoyable, and safer.
Ford’s MyFord Touch updates will improve the clarity of on-screen text, improve the interactive voice commands. The graphics are intended to easier to see and interpret. The goal seems to ensure the driver has got the ability to access and use more information without the systems being too distracting. If technology can help drivers avoid and prevent accidents, then let’s stay on this path.
Smartphone technology is expanding at a fast rate. It’s no coincidence that the same month that Sync was introduced was also the month that the iPhone was introduced. We’ll soon have the iPhone 5 (or will it jump to the iPhone 6?) version. Android operating systems have thousands of converts every day. Apps are being developed that are expanding the experience we can have while driving and while operating our smartphones.
Almost every day I get to help people connect their phones to the Ford Microsoft System. I get to show them how to use the system and how to do things they never thought they’d be doing. It’s a lot of learn indeed. For some it means creating new habits. Most seem ready to explore this new pathway.
Sync, and now MyFord Touch, is evolving into a more comprehensive, intuitive system at a very fast rate. Can you even guess where these systems will be in the next five years? So grab your smartphone, climb in and buckle up. We heading onto the in-vehicle technology pathway where we don’t need roads.