FORD INTRODUCES SIGNATURE INTERIOR EXPERIENCE: MYFORD TOUCH DRIVER CONNECT TECHNOLOGY
- New MyFord™ driver connect technology blends Ford signature in-vehicle features into a cohesive experience, featuring intuitive controls, more voice activation and interface personalization
- MyFord Touch™ interface includes dual 4.2-inch LCD screens with corresponding five-way button steering wheel controls and an 8-inch touch screen all controlled by simplified SYNC® voice commands
- Intuitive driver connect technology provides access to ever-expanding in-vehicle functionality while minimizing driver distraction and improving interior aesthetics
- MyFord driver connect technology launches this year on 2011 Ford Edge and goes global with availability on 2012 Ford Focus. MyLincoln Touch will be standard equipment on new Lincolns beginning with 2011 Lincoln MKX
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7, 2010 – Ford introduced a smarter, safer, simpler system to connect drivers with in-car technologies and their digital lives today at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Building on its leadership with the award-winning SYNC device connectivity system, Ford has combined a variety of technologies into one powerful, intuitive connected driver experience called MyFord, which will begin rolling out on vehicles this year.
"MyFord delivers a premium interior experience that will help consumers fall in love with their vehicles again," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "It integrates all our signature features so customers will know exactly what they're going to get in any Ford vehicle they may find themselves driving, no matter where they are in the world."
This new in-vehicle connectivity experience replaces many of the traditional vehicle buttons, knobs and gauges. With more voice commands, clear, crisp LCD screens that can be customized and five-way buttons like those on cell phones and MP3 players, drivers can choose which information is front and center through a button click, voice command or touch-screen tap.
Driven by trends
Ford decided to undertake a sweeping and ambitious redesign of the automotive interface after studying consumer electronics trends and the many new ways in which drivers were using technology inside their Ford vehicles.
Recent years have seen a massive expansion in the variety of in-car communications, navigation and infotainment technologies consumers regularly use. The expectations of average drivers have outgrown the traditional "button/knob/gauge" interface used in cars for the past 100 years, as most consumer and household electronics have moved to colorful digital displays and multi-function touch-sensitive buttons.
Consumers are insisting on simpler interfaces even as they're demanding more in-car connectivity, more options and more information – a dilemma known as "simplexity." Plus, the pace of advancement is expected to continue unabated, posing a new opportunity for drivers and engineers alike.
"As we began developing MyFord's capability, we saw this groundswell of new technology, new functionality and incredible capability opening up to consumers," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "It was readily apparent that unless we devised an intuitive interface to help drivers manage these capabilities, they could detract – and possibly distract – from the driving experience."
For example, prior to SYNC, drivers often were required to either leave behind their communications, digital information and favorite music while on the road or split their attention between driving and selecting songs, making phone calls or using the navigation system.
Influenced – and powered – by SYNC
When launched, Ford SYNC, developed with Microsoft, helped provide a seamless transition – and seamless flow of information and entertainment – from the moment drivers entered their vehicles to the moment they got out. As Ford began to develop additional SYNC capabilities and add other signature content, the company realized it was redefining the interior environment and ownership experience.
Accommodating all types of drivers, all types of vehicles
In the initial planning stages of redesigning the interior experience, Ford collaborated with IDEO, a world leader in helping consumers connect with technology. As a result, the company identified four key attributes of successful interfaces:
Be attentive: Use controls, screens and other interfaces with which most users already are comfortable and familiar.
Be approachable: Create an attractive environment with rich graphics, vibrant colors and buttons/screens that are appealing to the eye and the touch, and consistent with what consumers expect from certain functions.
Be clear: Rather than an imposing cluster of buttons, switches and dials, create a clean-looking interface, with controls that fall readily to hand and displays that are exactly where users expect to find them. Provide maximum control without the driver's hands ever leaving the steering wheel.
Be connected: For technophiles? Let drivers display all the information they want in the way they want it. For technophobes? Make sure basic controls, like radio and HVAC settings, still are accessible via familiar stack-mounted controls, so users don't have to learn a host of new commands to operate the vehicle.
"The driving experience is not just about getting from A to B," explained J Mays, Ford group vice president of Design. "It's about the approach to the car, how it responds to you when you get in, and how it responds to you while you drive. It's the anticipation, the welcome and the continuing conversation. Keeping these principles in mind helped us ensure we made decisions for the right reasons."
A global future for MyFord driver connect technology
As a signature offering, and one with the potential to help reduce driver distraction, Ford knew widely offering MyFord driver connect technology was a priority from the start.
"Democratization of technology is a key aspect of our product plan," Kuzak said. "With MyFord, we didn't want to create an upscale electronics package and just put it on our highest-end vehicles. This technology will be available across our full range of vehicles: From our affordable small cars to the ultimate Lincoln, we're going to make a premium, appealing and intuitive experience available to everyone."
MyFord also will be expanded across world markets. As new and refreshed models continue to arrive, nearly all Ford passenger vehicles will be outfitted with MyFord driver connect technology. There will be minor variations across car lines, but the interface will be instantly recognizable in Ford vehicles around the globe.
MyFord will arrive later this year on the redesigned 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers, before appearing on the all-new 2012 Ford Focus for global markets. By 2015, approximately 80 percent of Ford's North American models are expected to have MyFord driver connect technology, with similar percentages predicted for the world market.
"We've developed an environment that will make every Ford vehicle feel like a Ford," said Kuzak. "Across the country, across the globe, all of our products will have the same type of feel, making them instantly comfortable to the drivers who know and love them, and MyFord will become a key part of the joy of owning and driving a Ford product."