Ford has announced the Sync 3 infotainment platform, adding support for CarPlay and Android Auto. The carmaker has announced that all 2017 models starting with the Escape will come with the infotainment unit as standard and that 2016 models will be able to upgrade to the system later this year.
Starting with the all-new Escape crossover, Sync 3-equipped vehicles with a driver’s iPhone to access Maps, Messages, Phone, Music and Siri features directly on a built-in touchscreen or through steering wheel controls. CarPlay will also be available to owners of 2016 model year cars with Sync 3 in a forthcoming software update.
Apple’s CarPlay Introduced in 2014 with automotive connectivity platform designed to access and present iPhone’s data, sensor and communications capabilities through in-car OEM hardware. Ford pledged support for CarPlay last April, but did not specify an official launch window.
Ford’s executive director of connected vehicles and Services said that SYNC allows customers to bring the smartphone technology they’re comfortable with into a vehicle and use it without hassle.
With SYNC, we move at our customers’ pace and make it easy for them to maintain a connected lifestyle no matter their choice of smartphone, apps or services inside and outside their vehicle.
As expected, both CarPlay and Android Auto are secondary interfaces to Sync 3’s BlackBerry QNX-based operating system. For drivers with iPhones, the iOS-inspired CarPlay UI appears automatically when the device is plugged in through USB.
Ford is also planning to introduce 4G LTE technology in a car with Sync Connect by the second half of this year which allows smartphone access to vehicle functions like remote start, unlock doors and check fuel levels. The system also helps guide owners to their parked vehicle using GPS data.
Finally, the American auto giant will add a clutch of new software offerings to its AppLink platform, including a AAA/CAA app, Concur for business trip logging, Event seeker for surfacing live music and City seeker for discovering nearby points of interest. Ford is taking aim at the Chinese market with a Ten cent Chelian app that offers access to the popular QQ messaging service, music, real-time traffic and streaming audio.