If you like reading press releases from automakers and you just cannot get enough news from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, you are gonna love this. Here are the latest offerings from Ford Motor Company and technology partner INRIX, being introduced today at CES in Las Vegas.
Ford introduced a smarter, safer, simpler system to connect drivers with in-car technologies and their digital lives today at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Building on its leadership with the award-winning SYNC® device connectivity system, Ford has combined a variety of technologies into one powerful, intuitive connected driver experience called MyFord, which will begin rolling out on vehicles this year.
“MyFord delivers a premium interior experience that will help consumers fall in love with their vehicles again,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “It integrates all our signature features so customers will know exactly what they’re going to get in any Ford vehicle they may find themselves driving, no matter where they are in the world.”
This new in-vehicle connectivity experience replaces many of the traditional vehicle buttons, knobs and gauges. With more voice commands, clear, crisp LCD screens that can be customized and five-way buttons like those on cell phones and MP3 players, drivers can choose which information is front and center through a button click, voice command or touch-screen tap.
Driven by trends
Ford decided to undertake a sweeping and ambitious redesign of the automotive interface after studying consumer electronics trends and the many new ways in which drivers were using technology inside their Ford vehicles.
Recent years have seen a massive expansion in the variety of in-car communications, navigation and infotainment technologies consumers regularly use. The expectations of average drivers have outgrown the traditional “button/knob/gauge” interface used in cars for the past 100 years, as most consumer and household electronics have moved to colorful digital displays and multi-function touch-sensitive buttons.
Consumers are insisting on simpler interfaces even as they’re demanding more in-car connectivity, more options and more information – a dilemma known as “simplexity.” Plus, the pace of advancement is expected to continue unabated, posing a new opportunity for drivers and engineers alike.
“As we began developing MyFord’s capability, we saw this groundswell of new technology, new functionality and incredible capability opening up to consumers,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “It was readily apparent that unless we devised an intuitive interface to help drivers manage these capabilities, they could detract – and possibly distract – from the driving experience.”
For example, prior to SYNC, drivers often were required to either leave behind their communications, digital information and favorite music while on the road or split their attention between driving and selecting songs, making phone calls or using the navigation system.
Influenced – and powered – by SYNC
When launched, Ford SYNC, developed with Microsoft, helped provide a seamless transition – and seamless flow of information and entertainment – from the moment drivers entered their vehicles to the moment they got out. As Ford began to develop additional SYNC capabilities and add other signature content, the company realized it was redefining the interior environment and ownership experience.
Accommodating all types of drivers, all types of vehicles
In the initial planning stages of redesigning the interior experience, Ford collaborated with IDEO, a world leader in helping consumers connect with technology. As a result, the company identified four key attributes of successful interfaces:
Be attentive: Use controls, screens and other interfaces with which most users already are comfortable and familiar.
Be approachable:Create an attractive environment with rich graphics, vibrant colors and buttons/screens that are appealing to the eye and the touch, and consistent with what consumers expect from certain functions.
Be clear: Rather than an imposing cluster of buttons, switches and dials, create a clean-looking interface, with controls that fall readily to hand and displays that are exactly where users expect to find them. Provide maximum control without the driver’s hands ever leaving the steering wheel.
Be connected: For technophiles? Let drivers display all the information they want in the way they want it. For technophobes? Make sure basic controls, like radio and HVAC settings, still are accessible via familiar stack-mounted controls, so users don’t have to learn a host of new commands to operate the vehicle.
“The driving experience is not just about getting from A to B,” explained J Mays, Ford group vice president of Design. “It’s about the approach to the car, how it responds to you when you get in, and how it responds to you while you drive. It’s the anticipation, the welcome and the continuing conversation. Keeping these principles in mind helped us ensure we made decisions for the right reasons.”
A global future for MyFord driver connect technology
As a signature offering, and one with the potential to help reduce driver distraction, Ford knew widely offering MyFord driver connect technology was a priority from the start.
“Democratization of technology is a key aspect of our product plan,” Kuzak said. “With MyFord, we didn’t want to create an upscale electronics package and just put it on our highest-end vehicles. This technology will be available across our full range of vehicles: From our affordable small cars to the ultimate Lincoln, we’re going to make a premium, appealing and intuitive experience available to everyone.”
MyFord also will be expanded across world markets. As new and refreshed models continue to arrive, nearly all Ford passenger vehicles will be outfitted with MyFord driver connect technology. There will be minor variations across car lines, but the interface will be instantly recognizable in Ford vehicles around the globe.
MyFord will arrive later this year on the redesigned 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers, before appearing on the all-new 2012 Ford Focus for global markets. By 2015, approximately 80 percent of Ford’s North American models are expected to have MyFord driver connect technology, with similar percentages predicted for the world market.
“We’ve developed an environment that will make every Ford vehicle feel like a Ford,” said Kuzak. “Across the country, across the globe, all of our products will have the same type of feel, making them instantly comfortable to the drivers who know and love them, and MyFord will become a key part of the joy of owning and driving a Ford product.”
Ford Motor Company Expands Collaboration with INRIX on Traffic and Routing
Global Partnership Enhances Ford SYNC and Powers Next-Generation Navigation Systems on All Ford, Lincoln and Mercury Vehicles
INRIX®, a leading provider of traffic and navigation services, announced at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) it will provide Ford Motor Company with real-time traffic information and enhanced routing for all Ford vehicles with SYNC. These capabilities enhance the consumer experience with the award-winning Ford SYNC with Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI) and extends the time-saving benefits of INRIX traffic services to include the automaker’s other next-generation navigation systems.
In a CES keynote presentation this morning, Ford announced the company will become the first automaker to utilize INRIX’s real-time traffic information for 100,000 additional miles of arterials, city streets and secondary roads to route drivers around traffic congestion and speed them to their destination. As Ford builds on the successful foundation of SYNC with the introduction of MyFord Touch driver connect technology, INRIX’s traffic information continues to drive routing as part of the new system’s Traffic Directions & Information navigation services.
“Our traffic-influenced routing with arterials delivers a massive breakthrough that offers Ford customers new time saving options for getting to the important places and events in their lives,” said Bryan Mistele, president and CEO, INRIX. “As consumers increasingly demand navigation systems that help them avoid traffic congestion, important advancements like real-time traffic-influenced routing with arterials help companies like Ford meet the growing needs of their customers worldwide.”
According to a recently published J.D. Power & Associates study, 80 percent of consumers desire navigation systems that offer real-time traffic information and the inclusion of real-time traffic information significantly boosts customer satisfaction with their in-car navigation system. In the survey’s rankings of in-car navigations systems by manufacturers based on customer satisfaction, navigation systems offered by Ford Motor Company collected five of the top 10 spots, including first and second place.
The new MyFord Touch driver connect technology announced today at the 2010 International CES is designed to be powerful yet intuitive for drivers, blending strengths of the most proven interfaces in consumer electronics – including MP3 players and mobile phones – with a new generation of Ford’s award-winning SYNC system. MyFord, which will be branded as MyLincoln Touch and MyMercury Touch on respective Lincoln and Mercury brand products, redesigns the in-car interface, mirroring how consumers interact with most devices in their lives using touch-sensitive buttons, touch screens, thumb-wheel controls and voice recognition.
INRIX’s expanded role in Ford Motor Company navigation systems builds upon announcements made at the 2009 CES where Ford and INRIX announced Ford SYNC with Traffic, Directions and Information including personalized voice-enabled traffic reports, traffic-influenced turn-by-turn directions and route alerts. For additional information about INRIX traffic services, visit http://www.inrix.com/connectedservices.asp.
INRIX Technology Breakthrough Significantly Improves Accuracy of Real-Time Traffic Information for Navigation on Arterials, City Streets and Secondary Roads
Ford Motor Company and MapQuest First to Go Live With Accurate Real-Time Arterial Traffic Information
INRIX®, a leading provider of traffic information and navigation services, announced at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) INRIX is announcing ground-breaking new technology that significantly improves the accuracy of real-time traffic information as the company introduces coverage for arterials, city streets and secondary roads nationwide.
Expanding its highly accurate real-time traffic by over 100,000 miles of arterials, city streets and secondary roads, INRIX customers and partners can now leverage a total of over 260,000 miles of real-time speeds to route drivers around traffic congestion. In ground truth testing, INRIX’s new patent-pending SpeedWavesTM technology increases the accuracy of real-time traffic information on these roads by more than 70 percent compared to current approaches.
“We’ve all experienced the dilemma of being stuck in traffic on a major roadway wondering if we would get there any faster by exiting and taking side streets or other local roads. And we’ve all gambled in these instances with equal degrees of success and failure,” said Bryan Mistele, president and CEO, INRIX. “Now, INRIX eliminates the guesswork with the definitive answer to this age old question that will help millions of drivers know with greater certainty the best route to their destination.”
Until now, real-time traffic information on arterials has been either unavailable or considered highly unreliable and inaccurate because it has been based on speed measurements of vehicles that continually start and stop at traffic lights and stop signs. INRIX’s new SpeedWavesTM technology calculates profiles of speed distributions per road segment that factor in the impact stop signs and other traffic control devices have on the billions of data points INRIX receives from more than 1.5 million GPS-enabled vehicles and devices in its Smart Driver Network. This enables INRIX to use specific, real-time information from these vehicles to accurately report traffic information throughout the road network, resulting in a true picture of actual traffic conditions on secondary roadways. The result is not merely an average of information from separate vehicles traveling on the same roadway, but an analysis of data from individual vehicle reports that accurately determines real-time congestion across the road segment.
“While other companies treat arterials and city streets just like stretches of uninterrupted highway, we factor in the impact traffic lights, stop signs, curb cuts and other traffic control tools have on traffic speeds to provide a significantly more accurate snapshot of real-time traffic conditions and congestion on these roads,” said Senior Director of Product Management Ken Kranseler.
With today’s announcement, INRIX is significantly expanding its real-time traffic flow coverage of roads in North America by 60% to more than 260,000+ miles enabling customers to better route drivers around traffic and speed them to their destination.
Ford Motor Company and MapQuest Among First to Leverage New Breakthrough
In a keynote presentation this morning to attendees at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally and Connected Service Solutions Director Doug VanDagens announced that starting later this quarter the company will become the first automaker to utilize INRIX’s real-time traffic information for 100,000 additional miles of arterials, city streets and secondary roads to route drivers around traffic congestion and speed them to their destination. As Ford introduces MyFord Touch and extends availability of SYNC with Traffic, Directions and Information to every make and model, they will use INRIX’s real-time traffic information for arterials to offer vehicle owners new time-saving options for getting to their desired destination.
Additionally, MapQuest will use traffic data from INRIX to provide users of its popular mapping and directions website with the ability to see real-time traffic information for more city streets and arterials across the U.S. With this additional coverage, MapQuest users will be able to plan trips and see the traffic impact on secondary as well as primary roadways. MapQuest, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Inc.
INRIX® is a leading provider of highly accurate traffic services, with more than 90 customers and industry partners including the Ford Motor Company, TomTom, MapQuest, Microsoft, NAVIGON AG, TeleNav, I-95 Corridor Coalition, Tele Atlas, deCarta, ITIS Holdings, TCS, Telmap, ANWB and ADAC. INRIX’s strategic partnership with Clear Channel Radio and Total Traffic Network extends the delivery of the highest quality data and broadest coverage available for personal navigation, mapping, telematics and other location-based service applications in the car, online and on mobile devices.
INRIX Traffic Services leverage sophisticated statistical analysis techniques, originally developed by Microsoft Research, to aggregate and enhance traffic-related information from hundreds of public and private sources, including traditional road sensors and the company’s unique network of over 1.5 million GPS-enabled vehicles and mobile devices including 8 of the top 10 iPhone navigation apps. INRIX delivers real-time and historical traffic information today for 16 countries across North America and Europe. To experience the traffic technology revolution behind the next generation of navigation and location-based service applications, visit www.INRIX.com or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/INRIX.