Ford’s SYNC connectivity system to add Apple CarPlay support

Ford is expanding its SYNC connectivity system, adding Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE and several new AppLink apps. SYNC allows customers to bring the smartphone technology they’re comfortable with into a vehicle and use it “without hassle,” according to Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services.

He says there are more than 15 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on roads around the world today and 43 million expected by 2020. Starting this year, iPhone users can activate Apple CarPlay, and Android users can activate Android Auto, two interfaces built specifically for those types of smartphones.

In addition, new SYNC Connect technology powered by 4G LTE gives owners the ability to remotely access features of their car. Owners can program a remote start, unlock doors, check fuel level or locate a parked vehicle via their smartphone.

In North America, Ford is making Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available on all 2017 vehicles equipped with SYNC 3, starting with the all-new Ford Escape. Owners of 2016 vehicles equipped with SYNC 3 will have an opportunity to upgrade later in the year.

AppLink is the SYNC feature enabling drivers to voice-control smartphone apps from the driver’s seat. The first apps using available vehicle information such as GPS location and mileage will be available this year and will include:

AAA/CAA: The app for AAA members in the U.S. and CAA members in Canada uses vehicle GPS data to allow users to access fuel prices, locate fueling stations and use the Here2there route planning feature, which includes traffic.

Concur: Upon starting a Ford vehicle, Concur users receive a prompt asking if they want to log a business trip. The app then starts clocking mileage from the odometer using vehicle data. Each time the car is turned off, this constitutes one trip recorded in the Trace Trip Journal. At the end of the day, the journal is complete, and the driver is prompted to reconcile the day’s trips.

Eventseeker: Users can discover events from behind the wheel that fit their interest profile based on vehicle location data, finding out more about artists playing nearby, wherever they travel in their Ford vehicle.

Cityseeker: Vehicle GPS data brings the best restaurants, nightlife and other attractions in more than 500 cities worldwide directly to the driver.

Tencent Chelian: Drivers can access China’s most popular social media platform, QQ’s messaging app, as well as music, real-time traffic conditions and streaming radio

Ford is further enhancing AppLink capabilities for developers. A new Send Location feature allows an app to integrate directly with the vehicle navigation system to provide seamless operation without the user having to touch his or her phone.

Debuting on Glympse, the vehicle automatically recognizes if a driver is actively sharing the real-time location via the app. SYNC AppLink will ask if the driver would like to be routed to that destination. The driver can then press Yes to start turn-by-turn navigation.