Ford no longer wants to be known as “just” an automaker. Ford Motor Company would like the world to think of them more as an innovation or technology company. Innovation is no stranger to Ford as its namesake, Henry Ford, accomplished many more things than just creating a car company.
And now technology plays more of a role than ever at Ford who recently announced plans for a new technology center in the heart of Silicon Valley so that the brand can better position itself to work with potential partners such as Stanford University, Google (who recently purchased the first Focus Electric Vehicle) and many others.
Ford believes the potential is enormous and has been showcasing new technologies in its vehicles for some time now.This week it is making a big showing at both the North American International Auto Show and the Consumer Electronics Show rolling out new products and new technology.
Ford co-launched its next Fusion midsize sedan in high-tech fashion at both venues and has announced several new technology partners further enhancing the synergy between humans and automobiles and the driving experience.
The Big Blue Oval intends to debut five new apps total this week in Las Vegas at CES.
While Ford and Microsoft have been constantly working to improve and enhance the SYNC system, Ford announced it will utilize INRIX’s traffic intelligence platform to further enhance the user experience of its next-generation SYNC Destinations mobile app. This free mobile app for SYNC Services users allows Ford vehicle owners the ability to send destinations to their vehicle via a smartphone.
Ford also announced a new app available soon to drivers using SYNC AppLink to access various smartphone apps.
Scout by Telenav, Inc. has been selected to provide personalized navigation services integrating multiple platforms be it car, phone or web and works with voice control for safer driving.
Another SYNC AppLink app set to debut is the latest edition of the NPR smartphone mobile application allowing drivers to listen to control NPR using the power of their voice. Users can create playlists of stories and programs to listen to later or select from topics and then call them up with simple voice commands.
As I was finishing up this piece, Ford announced they have now delivered the 4-millionth application of SYNC and plan to deliver another 9 million by 2015.
UPDATE: Ford today announced it is the first automobile company to give drivers easy in-car access to the popular iHeartRadio app using voice control through Ford SYNC AppLink.
The new iHeartRadio, Clear Channel Radio’s industry-leading digital radio service, brings users a best-in-class customizable digital listening experience that combines the best of both worlds to deliver everything listeners want in one free, fully integrated service: more than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus user-created custom stations, which provide listeners more songs, better music intelligence, more user control and deeper social media integration.
Ford also announced the TuneIn Radio app will be available for use with vehicles equipped with SYNC AppLink, and will provide drivers with another listening option that can be controlled hands-free through voice commands.
“Smartphone apps have ingratiated themselves into the lives of consumers to such a degree that we have come to depend on them for much of our news and entertainment,” said Doug VanDagens, global director of Ford Connected Services. “With the addition of TuneIn, SYNC is reflecting that trend while dramatically increasing the global listening choices for Ford drivers.”
TuneIn is a free service that lets people listen to live local and global music, sports, talk and news by offering more than 50,000 AM, FM, HD and Internet radio stations along with more than 1 million on-demand programs streaming from all corners of the world.