Print 16 comment(s) - last by HighWing.. on Nov 2 at 7:26 PM

Ford and University of Michigan team up to develop new apps for the SYNC system

The University of Michigan College of Engineering and Ford are partnering up to work on the SYNC system being implemented into upcoming vehicles.

The "American Journey 2.0" project will have support from 25 to 30 UM students who enroll in a winter 2010 course designed to develop apps for SYNC.

SYNC has proven extremely popular among car owners, as SYNC-enabled vehicles sell twice as fast as Fords that don't have the technology.

The SYNC system currently offers drivers MP3 support, data-over-voice, GPS, and text-to-speech features.  UM-created apps could range from driver habit observations to social networking apps.

Teams of students in the UM class will be given the opportunity to develop the apps they're interested in -- and they'll be judged by UM professors and Ford officials.  The most popular app will then be used in a new  Ford Fiesta model, UM and Ford said.

The partnership is a win-win for both Ford and UM:  Ford receives innovative support from future software developers, while the UM students get real-world knowledge -- and the ability to have their apps utilized in future SYNC vehicles.

"We're going to hand them this platform and say, 'build us something really impressive,'" UM associate professor Brian Noble said in an interview with Crain's Detroit.  "This project has a high reality quotient, we're  connecting our students to a real industrial problem and that's exciting."

The Microsoft-powered SYNC system has gained popularity since its launch, as car owners look to use a single in-car entertainment and navigation system while driving.

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Social Networking Apps?
By CurseTheSky on 11/1/2009 11:51:33 AM , Rating: 4
While I hope the developers wouldn't be this stupid, I will refuse to buy any vehicle equipped with SYNC the first time I hear someone crashed because they were too busy changing their status on Facebook, or letting everyone on Twitter know that they're driving to the [popular band] concert to pay attention to the road.

SYNC as it stands right now is great, though. My dad's '09 Fusion came with it, and it's the first (non-luxury, non-$30,000+ car) hands-free system that I've seen that really works well. I wish my '08 Fusion came equipped with it. :(

RE: Social Networking Apps?
By Zoomer on 11/1/2009 12:20:48 PM , Rating: 2
There are many features I can think of that aren't such apps.

Mileage tracking, gas use meter, etc.
Remotely or on a set schedule, turn on the car/heat/deicing or air circulation (and sunroof windows if not raining) for winter/summer as necessary (sensors!)
Route saver - saves all the routes you take, with corresponding times, average speeds, mileage, etc, and let you reselect them in the future. Could be integrated with real time traffic.
Lane minder, min safe distance minder, animal/human on road warning (more sensors!)
Integrated forward/backward camera. Forward camera can be used to provide a filtered or enhanced front view, ie. night vision at night.
Distress signal: Calls 911 if collision or other emergencies detected.
Sleeping driver detector and prevention. Maybe it can flash pr0n when drivers get sleepy or something.

RE: Social Networking Apps?
By Aquila76 on 11/1/2009 12:39:58 PM , Rating: 2
I am interested in your ideas and would like to subsribe to your newsletter.

I am seriously leaning towards a SYNC equipped Focus. Allegedly, Ford is bringing the euro-spec EcoBoost Focus hatchback to the USA next year. If so, I'm all over one.

RE: Social Networking Apps?
By CurseTheSky on 11/1/2009 6:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
No doubt, there are a great number of possible applications that would be extremely helpful. However, this paragraph from the article completely caught me off guard (and hence my original post):

The SYNC system currently offers drivers MP3 support, data-over-voice, GPS, and text-to-speech features. UM-created apps could range from driver habit observations to social networking apps .

I mean, really? Social networking is one of the last things on my mind when I'm driving. I would hope that other drives follow suit, but unfortunately I know that's not the case.

Want to crash your car in a hurry, explain to the police that you were distracted because you discovered your significant other was flirting with another person on Facebook, and follow it up with sending a tweet about your misfortunate accident? There's an app for that...

RE: Social Networking Apps?
By HighWing on 11/2/2009 7:21:47 PM , Rating: 2
Sleeping driver detector and prevention. Maybe it can flash pr0n when drivers get sleepy or something.

Sure because flashing p0rn on the screen of a moving vehicle definitely won't case accidents! *laughs*

Though you are right, many of those would be very useful. I know onStar is now advertising the distress signal thing. I wouldn't be to surprised if that's already planned for the next synch update.

RE: Social Networking Apps?
By FITCamaro on 11/2/2009 5:29:56 AM , Rating: 3
Agreed. Social networking has no place in an automobile unless you're talking to the other people in the car.

RE: Social Networking Apps?
By jbwhite99 on 11/2/2009 10:38:42 AM , Rating: 2
I can just see your Facebook status update (or tweets) - just passed the intersection of Michigan and Trumble. (that's for the people in Detroit).

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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