Ford announced on Monday that it is bringing CarPlay and Android Auto to its 2017 North American vehicles that are equipped with its SYNC 3 infotainment platform, starting with the 2017 Ford Escape, due to be released later this year. Both CarPlay and Android Auto will also be available in 2016 vehicles equipped with SYNC 3, via an upgrade due to be released later this year.
Apple CarPlay is compatible with iPhone 5 and later models. The driver connects their iPhone via USB, then the CarPlay interface is accessible on the vehicle’s touch screen. Apple CarPlay features Siri voice control, and seamlessly integrates an iPhone with the car’s built-in display and controls.
SYNC 3-equipped vehicles will be able to connect with a driver’s iPhone, allowing access to Maps, Messages, Phone, Music and Siri features directly on the vehicle’s built-in touchscreen or via steering wheel controls.
“SYNC allows customers to bring the smartphone technology they’re comfortable with into a vehicle and use it without hassle,” said Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services. “With SYNC, we move at our customers’ pace – making it easy for them to maintain a connected lifestyle no matter their choice of smartphone, apps or services inside and outside their vehicle.”
Ford will also add the following SYNC AppLink apps:
- AAA/CAA: The app for AAA members in the U.S. and CAA members in Canada uses vehicle GPS data to allow users to access fuel prices, locate fueling stations and use the Here2there route planning feature, which includes traffic, on the move
- Concur: Upon starting a Ford vehicle, Concur users receive a prompt asking if they want to log a business trip. The app then starts clocking mileage from the odometer using vehicle data. Each time the car is turned off, this constitutes one trip recorded in the Trace Trip Journal. At the end of the day, the journal is complete, and the driver is prompted to reconcile the day’s trips
- Eventseeker: Users can discover events from behind the wheel that fit their interest profile based on vehicle location data, finding out more about artists playing nearby, wherever they travel in their Ford vehicle
- Cityseeker: Vehicle GPS data brings the best restaurants, nightlife and other attractions in more than 500 cities worldwide directly to the driver
- Tencent Chelian: Drivers can access China’s most popular social media platform, QQ’s messaging app, as well as music, real-time traffic conditions and streaming radio
While Ford was one of the first car makers to announce it would support CarPlay when it was originally announced, this is the first announcement form the auto maker since then. Ford added Siri Eyes Free support to 5 million of its 2011-2016 vehicles via a SYNC software update in December.