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Late last year, Ford announced that they would be introducing a do-it-yourself update for its MyFord Touch system which would give it a more responsive interface with better organization and graphics. Now that update has arrived and Ford wanted to demonstrate just how easy it is to do it.
Jim Buczkowski, Technical Fellow and Director of Electronic Systems Engineering at Ford, stopped by CNET to show the ease of updating the MyFord Touch system. The American automaker is currently shipping owners of vehicles with the MyFord Touch infotainment system a USB drive for the update.
In the video, Buczkowski demonstrates that users will simply be able to plug in the USB drive and the MyFord Touch system will automatically begin the update. Unfortunately it takes quite a bit of time – about 45 minutes to complete. The update changes the user interface of the MyFord Touch system making it easier to access the navigation, entertainment, climate control, and communications.
Those that don’t wish to undergo the update themselves can take their vehicle to a local dealership to have it completed. In the big picture though, this update proves that a new era is upon us, where vehicle infotainment systems can be easily updated to help future-proof vehicles. This just proves that companies like Apple and Google will have an inherent advantage if (once) they get into the car infotainment industry, having done it so long with their mobile operating systems.
Watch the demonstration video below.
Ford‘s new Escape couldn’t be any more different from the outgoing model, with a new look, a new platform, new EcoBoost turbocharged direct-injection engines and an all-new interior with an updated version of Ford’s MyFord Touch telematics system. Plus, Ford has added a cool new innovation, the handsfree liftgate. Find out about all the updates and watch the liftgate in action with AutoGuide editor Colum Wood from the floor of the LA Auto Show.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Escape
Watch the video below:
In response to falling quality and criticisms over its MyFord Touch and SYNC info entertainment systems, Ford Motor Company is taking steps to improve the situation.
CEO Alan Mulally has gone on the record stating that the company plans to introduce revised versions of both systems that will be simpler to use and more reliable.
He also says that part of the problem with the existing MyFord Touch and SYNC was quality control during the development process. As a result Ford has taken steps to greatly improve the matter, plus it says that from 2012 onwards, owners of Ford and Lincoln vehicles will also receive a flash drive which they can use to upgrade their existing MyFord Touch and SYNC software to the new, improved version without having to go to their nearest dealer.
And despite teething troubles, Mulally remains convinced that the technology is the way forward; currently, Ford is working on plans to make it standard on all Lincoln vehicles and incorporated in some 80 percent of Ford branded products by 2014.
He also says that despite the widely publicized criticism leveled at MyFord Touch and SYNC, including comments made by Consumer Reports, which saw the 2011 Ford Edge being dropped from the magazine’s “recommended” list; the systems do have their fans. “For 50 percent of the people [the systems] are part of the decision to buy a car,” he stated. Mulally also said that some “70 percent of the people that use SYNC and MyFord Touch also recommend it to their friends.”
[Source: Automotive News]
If you were one of the Ford owners who weren’t thrilled with MyFord Touch, you’ll be happy to learn that the system is receiving an upgrade that will make it more user friendly and easier to operate.
The upgrade, which will be available early next year and offered at no extra charge to exsisting MyFord Touch owners, will feature simpler graphics, faster touch-screen response and easier-to-use controls. The upgraded voice-activated in-car connectivity system will also be available with the new 2013 Ford Escape, Flex and Taurus.
Ford decided to upgrade the MyFord Touch system after conducting a series of polls, as well as receiving a flurry of bad press that stated the system wasn’t user friendly and was a bit buggy. To enhance the user experience, Ford has added Apple iPad connectivity and access to Audible.com audiobooks through voice commands or the touchscreen. Other improvements include better Bluetooth telephone connectivity, an updated map experience from TeleNav and Navteq and improved voice recognition powered by Nuance technology.
MyFord Touch is also getting some visual enhancements. Users will be treated to larger, bolder fonts, while designs are made more consistent and low-priority elements have been removed. In total, more than 1,000 screens have been updated with the improved look.
If you need a tutorial about the upgraded system, you can watch how-to videos at www.syncmyride.com or set up a free “SYNC My Ride” personalized training session at a Ford dealership. If you already have the MyFord Touch system, you’ll be sent a USB flash drive with the software upgrade for installation or you can visit your Ford or Lincoln dealer for the software installation.
You can also check out a video of the upgraded system after the jump.
Starting in 2013 Cadillac will begin to dramatically change the interior of its cars, switching away from conventional controls to a new center stack nearly devoid of buttons, knobs and switches.
According to a report by GMInsideNews, Chicago-based Methode Electronics, Inc., which supplies the MyFord Touch units for new models like the 2011 Ford Edge, has also signed-on to deliver a similar product to Cadillac.
Using the company’s next-generation technology, the Caddy dash of the future will use Methode’s TouchSensor and TouchCell technology and when the car is off will go completely black.
The system is first set to appear in the 2013 Cadllac SRX, and will then be found in the ATS compact sedan, as well as Cadillac’s new XTS flagship.
A similar system is also tipped to find its way into the rest of the GM lineup in the future.
However, the technology is so new and apparently so baffling that Consumer Reports went as far to put strikes against the new Edge and MKX, saying that MyFord Touch was so complicated and distracting that it could not recommend either of these vehicles to consumers on that basis alone.
Now Ford dealers are fighting back, taking the initiative by setting up workshops to show customers how to use the new technology; some are even going as far as hiring ‘technology’ specialists.
Like with any new technology, there is obviously a learning curve with how that new technology works,” declared Collin Sewell, Chairman of the Ford National Dealer Council. “We have a responsibility to help customers learn how to fully utilize the great new products that they are buying.”
MyFord Touch essentially groups the vehicle’s communication, entertainment and temperature controls into a central interface, with all functions activated by either touching the screen, steering wheel controls or voice commands. However unlike Sync, it must be used to operate key features in the vehicle, instead of allowing customers to learn at their own pace, likely the main reason for Consumer Reports’ damming remarks.
Furthermore, Ford is also pushing ahead with plans to install it in approximately 80 percent of its vehicles by the year 2015, so many dealers see it as being in their best interests to show customers how it works.
Although Ford Motor Company itself hasn’t yet officially endorsed the workshops dealers are offering, some are hoping they will receive some kind of compensation for putting such programs in place.
I think that there’s a discussion that needs to happen,” remarked Brian Godfrey, general sales manager Pat Milliken Ford in Redford, Michigan.
[Source: The Detroit Free Press]
A new reports suggests Ford will debut a new EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine at the Chicago Auto Show next week. As the new standard engine in the Ford Edge, it will produce roughly the same power as Ford’s 3.0-liter V6 but with significantly better fuel economy and emissions. As shown already in European models the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine should make aronnd 230-hp in the Edge. Ford will continue to offer the 3.5-liter V6 as the top engine offering for the sporty crossover.
The Edge will get more than just a new engine, however, and will feature a significant mid-cycle refresh including new bodywork. It will also be the first Ford model to go on sale with the company’s new MyFord Touch system, replacing all the controls on the center stack with a touch screen, voice activated controls and a steering wheel-mounted five-way controller.
[Source: Detroit News]
New 2.0-liter 4-cylinder makes 155-hp, EcoBoost engine coming
Ford has just unveiled the first example of its new One Ford philosophy, the 2011 Focus. Offered as both a five-door hatchback and four-door sedan, both models look quite unique but offer the same aggressive front end and high-quality paint. At launch one engine will be offered, a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with direct-injection technology that makes an impressive 155-hp and 145 ft-lbs of torque. Ford has, however, confirmed that the Focus will be offered with an EcoBoost engine in all markets in the future. Presumably, this will be Ford’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost with 180-hp.
The 2.0-liter engine is the fist naturally aspirated direct-injection engine used by Ford in North America and comes mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that works to improve fuel economy and deliver lightning quick shifts.
No fuel-economy numbers have been released yet, but Ford says the new focus will be a fuel economy leader. That is quite a claim considering the new Chevy Cruze gets 40 mpg on the highway.
Ford plans to offer the new Focus with plenty of optional premium items including keyless entry, active park assist, a backup camera and the next generation of Ford’s SYNC technology, MyFord Touch.
Described by Bill Ford as “responsible, fun and functional,” Ford said that the industry is at the intersection of the economy, energy and the environment and that the company’s that will succeed will deliver these aspects in an exciting package.
At the launch of the car, Ford CEO Alan Mulally said it was “the right car for the right time, for the right reasons.” Ford, is betting on the compact car segment, which is expected to grow to 25 percent of the U.S. market by 2012. In addition, compact cars make up 25 percent of all cars sold throughout the world. In total, Ford plans to launch 10 vehicles based on the new Focus platform, including the C-Max MPV, which will launch in the U.S. later this year.
GALLERY: 2011 Ford Focus
Official release after the jump: