Driving while being distracted is never a good idea, and cellular phones have proven to be one of the most engaging distractions for drivers, since they offer everything from run of the mill voice conversations, web browsing to text messaging. Ford is looking at addressing this scourge by offering a new update to the previous generation of its Sync in-car entertainment and communications system.
The current generation of Ford’s infotainment system – the MyFord and MyLincoln Touch platforms – already support this functionality through the Bluetooth Message Access Profile (MAP). MAP was designed for the specific purpose of streaming messages in automobiles, and supports SMS, MMS and emails.
Unfortunately, not many mobile phones on the market currently support MAP, and owners must have a compatible phone. A number of Research in Motion Blackberry models, a couple of Motorola phones running Google’s Android and a single HTC Android phone are the only models sold right now that support MAP.
Apple devices, such as the iPhone don’t support MAP, but we’re not surprised, since so few of the hundreds of smartphones on the market utilize and support the MAP Bluetooth profile. The most recent iPhone offers its own self-contained system that goes well beyond functions offered in Sync.
While the upgrade will allow older Sync systems to read text messages aloud to the driver, it won’t add functionality such as allowing drivers to dictate responses to texts or emails by voice. But perhaps that’s not a bad thing, since even hands-free usage of cellular phones can be a distraction.
If you’re driving a Ford with a first generation Sync system, you can visit SyncMyRide.com to find out if your car is eligible for an update and to download the software update.