Upgrades Planned for Complicated Ford Sync System

By Sam Grossman | July 25, 2011
When Ford initially introduced its voice-activated Sync in-vehicle communications and entertainment system in 2007, it was supposed to make life easier, and maybe even safer by reducing distractions. But so far, Sync has been more pain than pleasure. Both J.D. Power and Associates and Consumer Reports have complained about the company's more advanced version of Sync, known as MyFord Touch, which incorporates a touch-screen system. J.D Power notes that in its quality survey, Ford fell from fifth place in 2010, the highest of any non-luxury brand, to 23 this year. Consumer Reports went so far as to downgrade any vehicle that uses it. According to Ford, those who know how to use Sync tend to love it. The problem is the system's steep learning curve for voice commands. To fix the problem, Ford has partnered with voice recognition software company Nuance Communications to try to interpret commands better. The project uses algorithms to decode the intent of the demand, and coach the driver to provide proper directions, if necessary.
"It will help people who can't determine the right command to use," said Brigitte Richardson, Ford's lead voice control engineer. "It coaches you to get the information you need." The project has been ongoing for more than a year, but hasn't yet announced when it will go on sale as it continues user studies to fine tune the technology. Source: The Detroit News