Ford's second-generation Sync driver connectivity technology hits the market later this year as MyFord Touch on the 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. Ford has worked to develop the system to ensure greater user friendliness and ease of use.
Sync was Ford's first attempt at a hands-free connectivity technology, but was hindered by some hard-to-use features, such as multi-level commands and a limited vocabulary. These are two of the major issues Ford has worked to correct with MyFord Touch.
"With this latest generation of Sync, users can control the system without having to learn nearly as many commands or navigate as many menus," said Brigitte Richardson, lead engineer of Ford's voice control and speech commands technology. "As we've gained processing power and learned more about how drivers use the system, we've been able to refine the interface. Customers can do more and say more from the top-level menu, helping them accomplish their tasks more quickly and efficiently."
Part of this accomplishment is due to MyFord Touch system's expanded recognizable vocabulary. The system now recognizes 10,000 words, which is more than 100 times as many as the first-generation Sync recognized. The enhanced vocabulary will make it feel more natural to give commands to the system.
Eliminating multi-level commands makes it easier for drivers and passengers to access more features without having to first go into a submenu, such as "phone," to call someone. However, MyFord Touch isn't quite as advanced as Kia's UVO, which can query all connected devices to find a certain song if the user says, "Play 'Dancing in the Dark.'"
In addition to substantially expanding the system's vocabulary, Ford worked with Nuance, a leader in speech recognition technology, to make MyFord Touch better at understanding inputs. Ford incorporated Nuance's Unsupervised Speaker Adaption technology into Sync, which recognizes a user's voice, inflection, and even dialect within three commands. The system then creates a specific profile for that user and can even add profiles for more users. This greater adaptability improves command recognition by 50 percent, according to Ford and Nuance.
Look for Ford's latest and greatest in connectivity to appear later this fall on the 2011 Edge and Lincoln MKX. In the meantime, Ford has provided a YouTube video showing how the improved system works. Has Ford has improved its connectivity system successfully with MyFord Touch? Let us know with your comments.