Ford commissioned the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to validate the performance of its hands-free, voice-command Sync system and the findings were very positive.
The study took a Sync-equipped Mercury Mariner and placed 21 different drivers from ages 19 to 51 in the driver’s seat. The subjects were told to use Sync to select music tracks and have phone conversations, and then manually perform the same tasks the old-fashioned way.
At the end of the day, the results are exactly as expected. When placing a phone call, participants needed more than two-and-a-half times as many glances away from the road and more than four times longer in total eyes-off-road time than when drivers used Sync. Music track selection fared worse, with drivers needing six times as many glances and more than 10 times longer in total eyes-off-road-time.
Can’t handle all this excitement? The full study will be released April 15 at the SAE World Congress in Detroit, Michigan.