Ford Motor Co. announced the introduction of its new in-car infotainment system, the MyFord UI, at the recent International Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the first week of January.The MyFord system is powered by the next generation Ford Sync using Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Auto Platform. Ford engineers are said to have watched science fiction movies including Minority Report with Tom Cruise to design the system.
The MyFord has a variety of displays, improved voice recognition, more connectivity ports to include an SD Card slot and Wi-Fi. The screens for much of the visual presentation of information by the system will appear on the dashboard as part of the instrument cluster. There are two 4.2-inch full color LCD screens next to the analog speedometer and one 8-inch touchscreen LCD screen at the top of the center stack of instruments. There is a five-way switch on the steering wheel which controls the displayed information.
The 8-inch touchscreen is the key interface to the MyFord. It is laid out in a four corner fashion to accommodate four activities drivers use — the phone, navigation, climate and audio/entertainment functions. Some of the functions of the system include selected climate control, voice command of the AM/FM/HD Radio and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. A Sirius Game Finder application allows the user to automatically voice tune desired sports events. The system also includes navigation in two ways. The user can purchase a map-based navigation app from TeleNav that can be installed into the MyFord system using an optional SD Card or Ford will supply MapQuest mapping service on MyFord equipped vehicles.
Entertainment functions will include AM/FM/CD/SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio; USB-connected MP3 players and memory sticks; the ability to access Pandora; HD Radio capability with song tagging; a 3-D carousel with album cover art and photo viewing displays for scanning of available material; Podcast; and Bluetooth audio support. Driver and passenger can browse tracks by artist, scan lists of tracks with identical names and browse through devices without changing audio sources.
The system also includes vehicle personalization. For example, there is ambient lighting color control; custom welcome messages; door keypad code control via on-screen menus; Active Park Assist and rear view camera displays. Driver or passengers can also use the SD card slot or USB ports to upload images and video.
The system will appear on the redesigned 2011 Ford Edge and the Lincoln MKX crossover later this year and on the Ford Focus in the 2012 model year for global markets. Ford also said that it expects to have the MyFord System on 80 percent of its North American models by 2015.
Our take? Now that should keep the driver and his or her friends busy for awhile.