Ford, Microsoft Introduce SYNC at Beijing Auto Show for Chinese Market
Windows Embedded Automotive has spent more than 15 years enabling vehicle-based infotainment systems that let drivers control their car stereos, mobile phones and other devices with voice commands. Consumers have since come to expect that they can access and share information — even while they’re driving. They have traded the legacy driving aids of the AM radio and road atlas for entertainment, navigation and communication services.
The in-car infotainment systems are now one of the top selling points and are helping the automotive industry create what it calls the “connected car.” Depending on the system they’ve selected, drivers can listen to text messages, connect to social media, receive driving directions and more, all without taking their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel. The connected car is one more example of what Windows Embedded calls intelligent systems.
Windows Embedded Automotive 7 includes state of the art hands free phone control including address book and calendar download with secure simple pairing.
New in Windows Embedded Automotive 7 is SMS Reply by voice. Drivers can reply to text messages using voice controls where the system matches the drivers reply to stored messages like “Running late” or “See you in 10 minutes.”
Support for media devices like iPod and Zune, a cornerstone of past Windows Embedded Automotive platforms, have been upgrade and improved including iPhone/iPod Touch Firmware 3.x support, Bluetooth 2.1 and the latest DLNA.
Additionally Microsoft provides regular device updates to car makers so that the platform always works with the latest devices keeping your solution relevant for years.
What’s New for Microsoft Auto Customers?
Those familiar with Microsoft Auto can enjoy the new tools that the Windows Automotive development environment (the Automotive Adaptation Kit [AAK]) brings to Windows Embedded Automotive 7:
- Next-generation Automotive System Tools
The AST tools support the stable integration of advanced, high-performance systems. They include improved test modules and easy-to-use product engineering guidelines to help simplify the development process and increase reliability.
- A wider selection of middleware components
These include Windows Internet Explorer and Windows Media technology, required for the development of an automotive multimedia system.
- Significantly improved middleware
Updated Bluetooth profiles, enhanced media and phone modules and application cores all to make sure that Windows Embedded Automotive continues to be the preferred and leading in-car infotainment platform.
- Microsoft Tellme speech technology engines and Silverlight for Windows Embedded
Ford Motor Company also used Windows Embedded Automotive to power the award-winning Ford SYNC, SYNC with MyFord Touch and SYNC AppLink.
Multilanguage functionality in Ford SYNC was unveiled with the all-new Focus available now in China. With the introduction of the Focus, SYNC will feature Mandarin as its interfacing language, recognizing wide-ranging accents from 13 provinces, while also responding to English commands. Spoken by more than 1.2 billion people, the Mandarin language has subtleties that necessitated extensive research to allow for the differences in the pronunciation of the same word.
Ford’s Expansion in China
China is known as the center of all nations, and it makes an ideal location for Ford to devote efforts to its largest expansion in a half-century.
“These are incredibly exciting times for Ford in Asia,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa. “So far, Ford’s investments in China and across Asia represent its largest and most rapid global expansion in 50 years.
Automakers from across the globe are establishing roots in China to take advantage of this growing market as witnessed by all the major car companies exhibiting at the most recent Beijing auto show. And Ford is taking steps to ensure it offers something the automaker likes to call a “ connected car experience ” to the Chinese consumer with an expanded and fresh lineup of new vehicles.
“The Chinese auto market remains one of the most vibrant in the world,” said Dave Schoch, chairman and CEO of Ford China. “This expansion will allow Ford to deliver on our aggressive plan to bring 15 new vehicles and 20 new powertrains to China by 2015, giving Chinese consumers more choice in Ford’s next generation of high-quality, fuel-efficient, fun-to-drive vehicles.”
Understanding Purchasing Decisions of Chinese Consumers
Car ownership is a relatively new experience for many Chinese citizens but embracing new technology is not.
With the availability of Mandarin in the latest version of SYNC, Ford is helping consumers with their car ownership experience by enhancing a technology they already are comfortable using — the cell phone. Having dealers demonstrate how the SYNC platform extends the connected capabilities in a safe manner helps the consumer understand the value of their purchase.
SYNC is viewed by Ford as an opportunity to tell its story in a compelling fashion, giving consumers a connection to their vehicle and the road ahead.