If “electrification” was the hot topic of 2009, this year, the buzzword is “connectivity.” Even as more and more states wrestle with bans on in-car calling and texting, automakers are looking for new ways to keep motorists linked to the outside world.
“People have become addicted to connectivity,” suggests Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s global product development chief.
The Detroit maker took a plunge into the digital pool, several years ago, when it launched its new Sync infotainment system. Developed in cooperation with Microsoft, Sync is a voice-activated package of audio and navigation services that can be voice operated.
But in sharp contrast with General Motors’ OnStar, Sync is a relatively open system – “the electronic equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife,” according to Kuzak — which means it’s easy to update and add features that weren’t necessarily developed by or for Ford.