Ford Motor Co. plans to integrate a text-message-reading application into its Sync infotainment system for drivers.
The application, known as Message Access Profile or MAP, will work with some smartphones and can be accessed from the steering wheel, like many other Sync applications.
Ford technology spokesman Alan Hall said Sync will alert the driver of an incoming text message. The driver can have it read to him by pressing a button on the steering wheel. Should the driver choose to respond, MAP has 15 responses ready, such as "Be there in 10 minutes"; "Where are you?"; "I need more directions"; "Too funny"; and "I'm stuck in traffic."
"This shows the ability of Sync to move along with innovations that are occurring in mobile phone technology," Hall said. "The beauty behind Sync is that we can evolve and upgrade the system, so there's a lot of opportunity for us to grow."
The text-message-reading application will come standard in Sync-equipped 2011 and early-release 2012 vehicles, though owners with earlier versions of Sync may be able to update their vehicles with the application for free.
Bluetooth Special Interest Group, which oversees MAP, said the application is in high demand as texting becomes more and more a part of a smartphone user's daily routine.
"We are seeing significant uptake in MAP adoption among phone makers, in particular with recent qualifications from manufacturers such as HTC, RIM, Samsung and LG," said Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth group.
"Texting is becoming a ubiquitous part of our day, so it stands to reason the remote message access profile is an essential addition for handsets, automobiles, headsets and aftermarket car kits," he said.
Ford owners interested in finding out whether their Sync-equipped vehicles are eligible for updates, including MAP, may visit syncmyride.com and enter the vehicle identification numbers.
SOURCE: Automotive News