At the Ford event today I visited Ford’s Research and Innovation Center at Dearborn looking at emerging technologies where they talked about the technology of todays and tomorrows cars. Interestingly they said MyFord Touch will be coming to the UK next year and Applink the services that enables you to link apps from a smartphone to the car will be coming to the UK soon (but no date yet)
Paul Hockman, tech journalist and former tech editor for the Today Show talked about how touch has changed interaction with computers and “voice is the new touch”. He said gesture recognition is going to be the next trend in computing.
The product manager for Applink talked about bringing in apps from smartphones into the car rather than doing all the application development in the car system, since the turnaround on developing cars is a slow process compared to the speed of innovation of phone and internet technology. Using smartphones means you don’t need storage in the car and with the cloud the phone can be a way of authenticating you to the system.
Obviously Ford push the safety aspect of voice control and they showed a comparison video of a driver in a simulator highlighting the difference between selecting music via voice verses selecting via an mp3 player and how it took 3 seconds via voice and 30 seconds by hand with the drive spending less time looking at the road. The voice software is actually provided by Nuance and it seems to work pretty well.
MyFord Touch has three types of apps: Built in, Beamed and Applink. Built in apps are things like the entertainment feature (music and radio), navigations and phone function. Beamed in services are things like traffic services that are sent down from the Ford netowrk and Applink is where apps from the phone and propagated to the display,eg Pandora.
Other services that are built in that are emergency assistance which if the airbags are deployed the car automatically calls the emergency services and in European version it calls the emergency services in the language based on your location while communicating with you in your language.
MyFord Touch really brings Smartphone tech to the car and it will be great see it brought over to the UK