Chip makes GPS Navigation on Ford with MyFord, SYNC Systems

By Joel Arellano | January 12, 2010
LAS VEGAS, Jan., 2010 – Ford Motor Company is the first automaker to launch an affordable navigation system that competes with the ease and upgradability of hand-held navigation devices. Starting in 2010, a convenient, upgradable Secure Digital (SD) card-based navigation system requiring no expensive hardware or “head unit” electronics upgrades will be available for all Ford vehicles equipped with MyFord TouchTM. Turn-by-turn directions with generic display icons and voice guidance will be standard on all Ford vehicles with MyFord and SYNC®, using the existing Traffic, Directions & Information application. The new system marks the first time that an automaker has offered a system that competes with the ease of use and upgradability of hand-held navigation devices, without requiring the purchase of an expensive navigation system upgrade. Map-based SD card navigation builds upon SYNC with Traffic, Directions and Information. The current system leverages industry-leading voice-recognition software, integrated GPS technology and a Bluetooth®-capable mobile phone to deliver personalized traffic reports, precise turn-by-turn directions and up-to-date information including business listings, news, sports and weather – without the need for a built-in navigation system. Beginning with the Lincoln MKX crossover and its MyLincoln Touch system, which will be revealed at the North American International Auto Show next week, MyFord will begin to migrate across the company’s full product portfolio. “Navigation systems have moved to the realm of automotive features consumers expect to find,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “Harnessing the power of SYNC and the flexibility of our new MyFord system, we’re bringing an affordable, accessible, easy-to-update navigation system to millions of new consumers.” The move will eliminate the need for expensive optional factory navigation systems, as well as “stick-on” aftermarket units that don’t integrate well with vehicle interiors and can prove to be distracting. Two levels of navigation All Ford vehicles with SYNC will have turn-by-turn directions available via the Traffic, Directions & Information application enabled by the user’s mobile phone. The addition of MyFord and MyFord Touch driver connect technology brings a new visual element to the basic navigation system, thanks to the display capabilities built in to the systems. MyFord gives drivers two 4.2-inch full-color LCD screens, one in the instrument panel and another in the center stack. The MyFord Touch system brings two 4.2-inch LCD screens into the instrument panel and places an 8-inch touch screen in the center stack. Using the Traffic, Directions & Information application, either version of MyFord will be able to display turn arrows, street names and distance-to-turn information. “The MyFord displays really bring turn-by-turn directions alive for the first time,” said Jim Buczkowski, Ford director of Electronics and Electrical Systems Engineering. “Instead of just a voice telling drivers where to turn, there will now be visual cues in the form of street names, directional arrows and distance markers integrated right into the MyFord instrument cluster display.” Vehicles equipped with the upgraded MyFord Touch system already will have an 8-inch touch-screen display built into the center stack, which also is capable of displaying basic turn-by-turn direction information. SD card navigation, supplied by TeleNav, will be available as an option for the MyFord Touch system, activated by inserting the SD card in to the system’s built-in Media Hub. The SD card will contain the map database and voice data, 3D map graphics and enhanced point-of-interest (POI) information from Wcities. “Storing navigation information on an SD card installed in the Media Hub will be simpler and less expensive for customers and suppliers alike,” said Jason Johnson, Ford user interface design engineer. “In the past, map data were stored on a hard drive and updates took a significant amount of time to load from DVD. To get a map update with MyFord, you simply take the old SD card out of the Media Hub and pop in a new one. It will be the first time an automaker will offer something that competes with personal navigation devices.” Lowering costs while expanding accessibility Because the navigation system is simply an application that runs on SYNC, the map database and POI information can be contained on a relatively inexpensive SD card. This new capability eliminates the costs of an internal hard drive storage system and DVD player for map updates. “When we designed MyFord one of our driving principles was the democratization of technology,” said Kuzak. “Navigation doesn’t have to be a high-end luxury product. With MyFord, it will be standard on almost every Ford vehicle worldwide, and we believe it will help more people look forward to spending time behind the wheel of our vehicles.” Press release via Ford