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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New off-roader

Ford Bronco Production Officially Begins

The Ford Bronco is finally ready for primetime.

Ford

The time is finally here. After years of speculation and several months of pandemic-related delays, the Ford Bronco is starting to roll off the assembly line. The SUV marks the first new Bronco model in Ford's lineup in 15 years, not counting the Bronco Sport, and is one of the most hyped and sought-after vehicles to hit the market in quite some time. Ford's announcement that production has begun will be accompanied by a special YouTube presentation that Ford says will include interviews with the Bronco team and with reservation holders at the automaker's new Modification Center.


2021 Ford Bronco Ford added 2,700 jobs to support Bronco production.Ford


Bronco production has driven Ford to invest $750 million into its Michigan Assembly Plant, and the automaker says it has added 2,700 jobs to support the rollout. Ford's push to begin production can't come soon enough. Over 125,000 Bronco orders have been placed, and multiple delays have pushed the vehicle's arrival back, meaning there is considerable demand for the off-road legend.

Ford is ready to capitalize on the craze and will offer several ways to customize the new vehicle. At its 1.7 million square-foot Modification Center, The Blue Oval will factory-install several optional modifications that include equipment such as a front bumper safari bar, graphics packages, roof racks, and more. That's on top of more than 200 factory-backed accessories that can be installed at the dealer, either at or after the time of purchase.


2021 Ford Bronco Delays and production difficulties have pushed the Bronco back.Ford


If you are hoping to get behind the wheel of a new Bronco, it could be a while. Even buyers that have been in line for a while now might not see their new vehicle until late 2021 or 2022, and the vehicle's official rollout will almost certainly re-spike demand. Even so, many feel it's worth the wait, and Ford's vehicle configuration tool is live, so go check it out for yourself.

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Audi is adding new features to its MIB 3 system.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG
Starting in 2020, Audi began installing its next-gen MIB 3 infotainment system throughout its lineup. Two years on, the German automaker is adding new functionalities to the system including integrated Amazon Alexa.

The latest MIB 3 infotainment features are anticipated to be available starting summer and fall 2021 in 2022 Audi A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q5, Q7, Q8, E-tron, and E-tron Sportback models. This includes Personalization 2.0, which allows users who have a saved profile to transfer their seat adjustment, radio station favorites, and climate control settings from vehicle to vehicle.

MIB 3 initially had Alexa as a push-to-talk function using steering wheel controls. For the new model year, Alexa will be able to be activate using "Alexa" voice commands within the cabin.

Audi MIB 3 infotainment system Audi is expanding SiriusXM with 360L to more vehicles. Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Users will an Apple ID and active Audi connect Prime or Plus subscription will be able to log into their account and play Apple Music without needing to pair a phone.

Audi is expanding its SiriusXM with 360L to more models. The tech will be offered in the 2022 E-Tron GT with a subscription. It current is available in the 2021 Audi Q3, Q5, Q7, Q8, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, E-Tron, and E-Tron Sportback.

Android Auto users will be able to wirelessly connect to Audi systems on select vehicles starting with the 2022 model year. The Audi Q3, Q5, Q7, Q8, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, E-Tron, and E-Tron Sportback all will be enabled.

New features have been added to the myAudi app as well:

  • Select models now available with Function on Demand features, including MMI Navigation plus (select Audi A4, A5, and Q5 Premium and Premium Plus models), and Light Function Package (Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback Premium models); more features to be added at a later date
  • A revised e-tron route planner for electric vehicles that can sort public charging stations with a greater level of detail between Level 2 AC chargers and Level 3 DC fast chargers
  • Additionally, all MIB 2, MIB 2+, and MIB 3 users will be able to enjoy a revised myAudi app with easier-to-use functionality

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