Looking forward to getting to know you, Ford Sync 3.
Just two years ago, when AGirlsGuidetoCars made its debut, I packed a bag, hopped into a Ford C-Max and drove the 600 miles from Connecticut to Detroit to attend the North American International Auto Show, one of the industry’s biggest and most important shows.
It was during that week that Mitzi and I got to be friends. Mitzi, as I dubbed her, was the MyFord Touch infotainment system on which Ford had banked much of its future. The system provided navigation and maps, connected my phone to the car and provided lots of technology at the push of a button.
I quickly fell in love.
Finding my way around Detroit and its suburbs, much of it in the cold early morning and early evening darkness of January, I needed a friend. Mitzi was there with directions, music, phone calls and more.
Like so many Americans who log miles on our interstates for business, mostly alone in their cars, I truly came to appreciate how the system functioned: after a short time on the road I had learned the system’s cadences and functions and spent hours at a stretch making calls, churning through my entire playlist of Broadway sing-alongs, scanning favorite Sirius stations and recalculating my route to track my progress. I only once did I go truly old school and stop at a McDonalds in order to check my email.
Once in Detroit I relied on Mitzi even more: she got me to my hotel, to and from events downtown, around traffic jams in morning rush hour, to convenient parking lots and when the show was over, and navigated me nicely around to see the sights in the daylight. Detroit, a city that by its reputation might seem intimidating, was a delightful surprise, all of which was enhanced by not getting lost. I came away with a great appreciation for the MyFord Touch system and still think its inventiveness changed the industry.
Despite my experience, MyFord Touch didn’t quite get the same reception from many critics. A lot of users of the first-generation system were highly critical.
The system I learned on was a third iteration; it was much more refined, sensitive and smarter. It could read my texts and it harnessed a lot of information, such as displaying the local speed limit, something many systems still don’t do. But overall, I was wowed. The car was an extension of my phone, providing me tons of functionality at the push of a button and whisper of my voice.
But like school-yard bullies, the critics didn’t back off. So after years of refining the system, Ford decided to move on to its next generation and develop its Sync system, unveiling the Sync 3 last week.
As with MyFord Touch, I look forward to getting to know Sync 3. It’s not so much the system I am excited about, but that Ford is upholding the mission of Henry Ford to bring mobility to the masses. In this, Ford puts an innovative challenge to its open-source developers: What possibilities are next? What can we innovate? How can we change the world? And most importantly, how can we bring this new technology to everyone, not just the wealthy?