Ford cuts in-car texting risk with ‘talkback’ Sync feature

Given that mobile phone owners treat their handsets like virtual umbilical chords connecting them to the digital space, it’s hardly surprising to note that they tend tocause road accidents while type interfacing from behind the steering wheel.

Bearing that in mind, we must applaud automobile giant Ford, which is attempting to reduce the risks associated with in-car texting by introducing a new feature that reads incoming messages to the driver.

The feature is set to arrive as an update to Ford’s existing Sync voice activation platform, which is already installed aboard all 2012 Ford models—although, for some reason, not on the 2012 Ford Ranger.

The feature works by using Bluetooth to connect to the driver’s mobile device, after which it alerts the occupant(s) each time a message is received, reading it aloud and even enabling the intended receiver to select from several stock replies by simply issuing a voice command.

Of course, the talkback message function is only likely to help quash part of the problem, at least insofar as there’s absolutely no guarantee it will dissuade drivers from responding directly to their texts by manually composing more personal and lengthy in-car replies.

The Sync upgrade will be made available today from the official Ford Sync website and is compatible with all Ford vehicles produced from 2010 onwards. To install the feature, users need only download the upgrade pack onto a USB drive and then transfer the drive to their waiting vehicle’s connection port.

Ford has said models produced before 2010 that are also using Sync will receive the upgrade in the near future.


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