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 |  Jul 12 2011, 11:49 AM

In response to falling ratings on the JD Power and Associates Initial Quality ratings, largely due to issues relating to unreliable voice commands on it’s much touted Sync system; Ford Motor Company is taking a leaf out of General Motors’ book by looking at adding live operators to the service.

During the course of this summer, Ford is testing what it calls ‘Operator Assist’ essentially a service that connects drivers with a real person if they’re having problems getting directions or asking commands after three attempts with the automated Sync system.

By the Fall, the company is expected to make a decision as to whether it will go ahead with Operator Assist on a full-time basis. If that proves to be the case, Ford says existing Sync Service customers won’t need any new software to access an operator and the additional service will be provided at no cost for a period of three years. After that customers would be billed an annual fee of $60, according to Ford spokesman Alan Hall.

This new strategy represents an almost about turn in Ford’s approach to Sync, when it was first launched in 2007. Originally it was designed to keep driver’s eyes on the road by using voice activated commands for features ranging from hands free calling, to vehicle functions, directions and even finding points of interest.

However the software, despite upgrades continues to have problems recognizing certain accents and commands, causing frustration among a number of motorists. Given how successful GM’s OnStar program has been since its introduction in 1996 (around half of all OnStar customers continue with subscription once their trial period is up), the idea of Ford adopting live agents, might prove a very good move.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

 |  Jul 09 2011, 8:06 PM

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With filming for the fourth installment of Mad Max getting underway soon, one very important decision has to be made. What will Mel Gibson’s successor drive?

The next generation Mad Max Interceptor will be chosen by fans all across the worldwide with voting extended through July on the two remaining concepts crafted by Ford designers. The two concept possibilities for the next generation Mad Max Interceptor are currently on display at the Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne as 40-percent sized clay models that weigh in at around 287-lbs.

The two competing concepts were designed by Nima Nourian and Simon Brook, with “Top Gear Australia” documenting and detailing the entire process from idea to reality concept. And despite it being over 30 years since the original Mad Max action movie came out, voting has reached worldwide interest for the next Mad Max Interceptor.

Check out a short clip of the two concepts after the break.

GALLERY: Mad Max Interceptor Concepts

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