Remember when cars weren’t computers? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Everything is a computer now, even phones. Hell, even my refrigerator has a touchscreen on it now. Digital navigation and “infotainment” systems have become standard equipment in most vehicles and have even become major selling points for some models. Given that cars will soon be fully self-driving, we’ve got to find something to do with all that free time we’ll soon have on the road. American auto giant Ford announced its Windows-based SYNC communications and entertainment system in 2007 and was named one of Popular Mechanics “Top 10 Most Brilliant Gadgets of 2007.” Ford has continued to refine and update the system to keep up with current trends, recently announcing a new update that has added a voice-controlled digital assistant and compatibility with navigation app Waze.
The latest SYNC update includes support for Sygic’s smartphone-based GPS navigation app which can be controlled by voice commands in 24 languages. Ford drivers with the latest SYNC 3 update can, well, sync the app to their integrated SYNC system and activate the digital assistant using a button on their steering wheel. The assistant can provide directions, live traffic info, information on gas prices in the local area and even parking advice.
Ford’s SYNC 3 update also adds compatibility with navigation app Waze. Waze is similar to other navigation apps like Google Maps or Apple Maps, except the app claims to help drivers “outsmart” traffic by rerouting them around congested areas using live traffic updates submitted by users. Because Waze occasionally reroutes drivers through neighborhoods or other non-thoroughfare areas, the app is somewhat controversial and has generated plenty of backlash. Still, Waze users who drive Ford vehicles should welcome the move, as they no longer have to take their eyes and hands off the road to activate the app.