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Ford updates Sync Destinations with voice controls, better traffic data

Ford is extending its AppLink support to its own Sync Destinations app, finally providing voice control and including more accurate, real-time traffic and rerouting data thanks to its partnership with Inrix.

Surprisingly, you weren't able to access the app through voice commands before, but this latest version of Destinations allows the driver to access all the traffic, saved routes and direction services without having to tap their phone or touchscreen.

In addition to routing to saved destinations, users can send an address from their smartphone directly to the Sync system, get real-time traffic data with rerouting and report accidents, which helps increase the accuracy of Inrix's crowd-sourced traffic information.

The updated app for iPhones will be rolling out soon, but Android users will have to hold out for a few more months. Full details in the press blast and video below the fold.

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Updated SYNC Destinations App Connects Drivers to SYNC On the Go, Simplifies Navigation on the Road

· SYNC® Destinations now leverages the power and speed of the latest 3G and 4G mobile broadband networks to provide fast access to turn-by-turn directions, destination downloads and traffic information

· SYNC Destinations is now compatible with SYNC AppLink™, enabling drivers to get quick, on-the-go access to the latest traffic reports, turn-by-turn directions and destination downloads with simple voice commands

· SYNC Destinations is the first of five new apps Ford plans to announce and demonstrate at the upcoming 2012 International CES

DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 9, 2012 – Ford Motor Company is launching the next version of SYNC® Destinations, its free mobile app for SYNC Services subscribers, giving Ford vehicle owners the ability to easily send destinations to their vehicle using their smartphone.

With the addition of Ford SYNC AppLink™ support, the app enables drivers to use simple voice commands to get on-the-go traffic reports to any of their favorite destination points. Users can report traffic incidents to share with the entire SYNC Destinations community, get to-the-minute incident reports, and leverage their smartphone's data network to download turn-by-turn directions and destinations directly to their vehicle.

"SYNC Destinations is an indispensible tool that cuts travel times and helps Ford owners save money by using less fuel," said Doug VanDagens, global director of Connected Services, Ford Motor Company. "The app not only makes the SYNC experience better, it makes it easier than ever to navigate with SYNC Services."

Simplified voice-controlled access via AppLink
With the first version of SYNC Destinations, Ford owners had the capability to get on-the-go access to their cloud-based SYNC Services account. Drivers could add, save and manage destinations or Saved Points like they do using Locations added using SYNC Destinations were easily accessible through SYNC Services in the vehicle.

The new version of SYNC Destinations takes the experience to the next level. Now the SYNC Destinations app combines with SYNC AppLink to leverage the power of the smartphone's data connection to download directions into the vehicle using simple voice commands. Users can also access traffic/incident reports while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Users simply speak the commands "Mobile Apps," "SYNC Destinations," followed by "Traffic to" and the name of a saved destination to instantly get the fastest route to their destination. The command, "Directions," followed by the name of a saved destination enables users to download voice-guided turn-by-turn directions into the vehicle.

Need to know traffic incidents around your location? Simply say, "Incidents around me" to get a report of all known incidents and events around your current location.

Drivers also can use the SYNC Destinations app's community reporting feature to "Report an accident" to other fellow SYNC Services drivers to forewarn them of potential traffic delays.

Ford vehicle owners who do not have AppLink can still download the new version of SYNC Destinations and enjoy the following new features:

· Access real-time traffic information and incident reports covering every major interstate, highway, arterial and city street in North America
· Gather reliable traffic forecasts that cut travel times and save money by consuming less fuel
· Get comparative traffic reports delivering fast insight into which roads are better or worse than normal for that time of day
· View previously unsaved destinations and convert them into a Saved Point
· Access alternate route options to any Saved Points
· Leverage international language support for Spanish, French, German, Italian, Hungarian and Dutch
· Send a destination to the vehicle using the "Send to SYNC" feature via a smartphone. Directions for this destination can then be downloaded by using SYNC Services. Previously, users could only utilize Send to SYNC from their computer or laptop using Mapquest and Google

SYNC Destinations and SYNC Services navigation are powered by INRIX's traffic intelligence platform and the world's largest community of drivers. INRIX uniquely analyzes real-time data from 50 million vehicles and hundreds of public and private sources to provide SYNC owners with voice-controlled access to the latest traffic reports and best routes based on current and expected conditions. INRIX Traffic Forecasts leverages unique analysis of real-time, historical data with analyses of traffic-impacting local events like holidays, weather, concerts and sporting events to deliver insight into what drivers can expect on the roads hours, days and months in advance.

"We continue to collaborate closely with other companies to make sure SYNC and the app ecosystem built around it remains fresh and exciting for our customers," said Srini Racha, product manager, SYNC Services, Ford Connected Service Solutions Organization. "SYNC Destinations gives busy, on-the-go SYNC users the convenience of using their smartphone to find, save and send destinations to their vehicle. Then, when in the vehicle, to leverage the smartphone's power and speed and SYNC AppLink to download directions to that destination using simple voice commands."

This new version of SYNC Destinations continues to be a free download for SYNC Services subscribers and will be available for iPhone users on the Apple App Store. Owners with active SYNC Services accounts can download and use this app. This version of SYNC Destinations will also be made available for BlackBerry and Android users in the first quarter of 2012.

SYNC Destinations now joins the growing SYNC AppLink ecosystem of mobile apps including Pandora, Stitcher, Slacker Radio and OpenBeak. SYNC AppLink is available on 10 vehicles for 2012.

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