New In-Car Tech

Take a Peek: Ford previews next-gen SYNC infotainment system

Ford has debuted the next-generation of its SYNC infotainment system.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has previewed the next-generation of its SYNC infotainment system, SYNC 4. The automaker claims that the new system is faster, easier, and simpler to use.

Standard screen size will likely vary by vehicle but Ford is already making it known that 12- and 15.5-inch screens will be available. Ford says that the screens will allow users to multitask without going through various menus. On the 12-inch screen, the screen view can be split into two smaller windows.

The 15-inch screen employs something Ford is calling Adaptive Dash Cards. Frequently and recently used features will display below the main portion of the screen and display information such as the next step in the route or audio controls.

Ford SYNC 4 temperature When users change their ambient temperature setting, this what the screen will show.GIF courtesy of Ford Motor Company

"No matter what size screen Ford customers choose, they will be getting an experience tailor-made for their vehicle," said Gary Jablonski, chief engineer for SYNC technology, Ford Motor Company. "SYNC 4 puts these high-definition screens to work not only by offering even crisper displays, but also by making driving easier with new multi-tasking capabilities."

Th new system features an updated graphic design and interface. The looks of the latest SYNC 3 system are intact, with blacks and blues standing out most, however the overall design will vary by vehicle, as will screen size.

Every new Ford vehicle comes with available FordPass Connect, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot. In vehicles equipped with the newest iteration of the SYNC system, cloud connectivity will be standard, as will voice recognition. The cloud technology allows the system to be able to provide traffic, parking space, and parking cost information in units with navigation.

Ford SYNC 4 volume This is what the SYNC 4 interface looks like when users change the volume.GIF courtesy of Ford Motor Company

In its release featuring the new system information, Ford assures that though the system relies heavily on the cloud, it still has on-board processing power to "minimize performance issues." Performance issues are a concern given the glitches experienced with the SYNC 3 system during test drives of the 2020 Ford Escape and 2020 Ford Explorer, something the company issued a statement saying that they are working to remedy.

The owner's manual is now kept on the cloud for easy perusal. This type of functionality is a common offering from luxury automotive brands.

Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and AppLink apps such as Waze will be able to be accessed wirelessly. AppLink will also allow owners to control their vehicle from their smartphone. SiriusXM with 360L is available.

Ford SYNC 4 Ford has designed the SYNC 4 system to include easier phone call navigation.GIF courtesy of Ford Motor Company

SYNC 4 is designed to learn user behavior and make suggestions based on previous navigation behavior or prompt users to make phone calls to people you frequently speak to.

The new SYNC 4 system will be available on select Ford vehicles starting in 2020.

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Owners of 2020 and 2021 model year Infiniti vehicles will be eligible.

Infiniti

Apple CarPlay is a great feature that can add maps, streaming audio, and voice controls to even base model vehicles that would otherwise lack such technology. It also offers a standardized interface that works similarly to a smartphone's built-in software, so there's no confusion about how to operate the system. Until recently, users had to have their phones physically tethered to the vehicle with a wired connection, but many automakers have begun offering wireless connectivity. Infiniti is one of them, but in an unusual step, the company says that it will upgrade older model year vehicles with the technology at no cost.

Infiniti Wireless Apple CarPlay The upgrades will be free for owners.Infiniti

This means that if you own a 2020 or 2021 Q50, Q60, QX50, or QX80, you are eligible for the upgrade. Wireless Apple CarPlay became available for Infiniti vehicles starting with the 2022 model year, so it's a new feature for the automaker. The first model to support the feature was the 2022 QX55 and the new 2022 QX80 will offer the tech with its 12.3-inch touchscreen system. The 2022 Q50 and Q60 will both leave the factory with the feature, as will the upcoming QX60.

It's unclear how or if the upgrade will affect other vehicle systems, but it's a worthy move for anyone who owns a 2020 or 2021 Infiniti vehicle, if only to boost resale value down the road. Cars such as the 2021 Q50 came standard with a dual-screen infotainment system and wired Apple CarPlay, so the ability to go wireless would be a big bonus for some drivers.

Infiniti Wireless Apple CarPlay Owners have until March 31, 2022 to complete the upgrade.Infiniti

If you own a 2020 or 2021 Infiniti model, you have until March 31, 2022, to complete the upgrade. Infiniti says its dealers will perform the update at no cost to owners, so make your appointments now. The automaker has not announced plans to offer wireless Android Auto.

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Ford EV manufacturing

Ford plans new plants in Tennessee and Kentucky

Ford's new TN facility may be one of the largest in U.S. history.

Ford

Earlier this year, Ford outlined its plans for significant investments in electric vehicle development and construction. Today, the automaker announced a big step forward in that roadmap that will include two new facilities, billions in new spending, and thousands of new jobs.

The $5.6 billion Stanton, TN factory will be called Blue Oval City and will bring 6,000 new jobs to the area. Ford says the site will include a BlueOval SK battery plant, and that electric F-Series trucks will be manufactured there. The assembly plant is designed to be carbon neutral and to send zero waste to landfills once it's up and running.

Ford Blue Oval City Ford plans to create a combined 11,000 jobs.Ford

Ford notes that Blue Oval City will be one of the largest automotive manufacturing sites in U.S. history. The campus sprawls 3,600 acres over six square miles, and will house assembly, battery production, and a supplier facility. The vertical integration of all functions on one site should lower Ford's production costs and reduce its carbon footprint.

The $5.8 billion Kentucky site will be a dedicated battery manufacturing complex that houses two separate battery plants. The location will supply Ford's North American assembly plants and is expected to create 5,000 new jobs. The facilities in both states are being built as part of a joint venture between Ford and SK Innovation, pending regulatory approval.

Ford Blue Oval City The TN facility is expected to be carbon neutral when it's up and running.Ford

The increase in production capacity can't come soon enough for Ford. Earlier this year, the Mustang Mach-E EV debuted to strong demand, and the automaker will soon roll out the first electric F-Series truck. Called the Ford F-150 Lightning, the pickup will be the first electric truck from a legacy automaker.

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