We’ve seen Ford SYNC cars be cell-phone friendly in a lot of ways, like Wi-Fi sharing, and smartphone application APIs; today they’ve got two more features that will keep drivers both safe and connected.
First up is a Do Not Disturb mode, accessed from the snazzy MyFord Touch console, which mutes incoming mobile calls, e-mails, and text messages so you don’t get distracted while driving, but still allows outgoing and 911 calls to be made. The second feature is the adoption of the Message Access Bluetooth profile, which allows Ford Sync to read incoming messages aloud from a smartphone, particularly BlackBerrys. This function (including the MAP profile) is also being implemented in BMW’s ConnectedDrive, so one can imagine that the Chevvy Volt will try to offer something similar sooner or later too.
I’m not sure how widespread MAP is among smartphone manufacturers right now, but from what I can gather, BlackBerry is one of the few dedicated to supporting it. It’s good to see car manufacturers stepping in to the mobile arena and push for greater adoption, and I’m curious to see what other unexplored innovations all of these new highly-connected rides will promote. That micro-map thing BMW was working on springs to mind as another example of refreshing new mobile tech.
The 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, launching sometime this summer, will be the first cars to sport Do Not Disturb and message-reading via Bluetooth. Here’s a little video showing everything off.