Many drivers get to know their cars like close companions over time, but how well do our cars know us? Vehicles soon will prompt their owners to make a regular phone call, work out at a favoured time, or stop off at a much-loved coffee shop – if those activities are part of their regular routine. That’s what Ford have built into their new Mustang SUV and insurers will be interested to see how manufacturers use that data, or whether customer consent can be gained to access that data history.
Knowing which phone calls were made, and to whom, just before an accident could well be crucial info when it comes to settling a claim. So too would knowing exactly who was driving the car – and speech recognition on login at the start of the journey may well give an insurer a head start on confirming that fact.
Here’s the word from Ford;
Making its debut in the all-new, all-electric Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s next-generation SYNC technology actually learns from driver behaviours to make smart suggestions. It combines conversational speech recognition, internet search results and machine learning intelligence to make time-saving recommendations based upon previous journeys.
“We’ve worked obsessively to make sure that owning a Mustang Mach-E is the most personal, most connected driving experience achievable,” said Jan Schroll, connectivity manager, Ford of Europe. “The next-generation SYNC is the smartest version yet and will continue to get smarter the longer you own your car. It is designed to know what you need – and when you need it – so you can just sit back and enjoy the drive.”
The code for Ford’s next generation of SYNC has been written from the ground-up to bring Ford’s human-centric design philosophy right to the heart of driver experience. It enables more than 80 vehicle settings to be customised in the Mustang Mach-E, from cabin temperature and seat position to ambient lighting, making for a highly personalised in-car experience.
The system can even identify individual drivers by their smartphone or key fob and apply their settings as they approach the vehicle – before they get in – so each family member can instantly experience their own unique cabin, driving and entertainment experience.
The system employs a machine learning algorithm to better understand drivers’ habits over time. Go to the gym every Friday? Call home on the way back from work? The next-generation SYNC system will learn each owner’s routines to make the right navigation and communication suggestions at the right time, enabling drivers to concentrate on the road.
Inside the Mustang Mach-E, the next-generation SYNC system features a 15.5-inch full HD touch display. The large, user-friendly console is simple to read at a glance, while the interface has been pared back to deliver information in an organised, easily digestible way. Familiar pinch, zoom and rotate touch controls are all present, while the signature dial at the bottom of the screen makes for quick and tactile adjustment of the volume for music or conference calls.
Navigating the SYNC interface has been reimagined so drivers never are more than a touch or two away from any application, information or control they need. The large screen and card layout allow multiple applications to be displayed simultaneously, so receiving a call while navigating no longer means missing a turn as the directions disappear from the screen.
Mach-E owners also can use their smartphone to unlock their vehicle. With the Phone-as-a-Key feature enabled, the vehicle will instantly recognise who is approaching, unlock the doors and enable their individual driver preferences and settings. If the driver’s smartphone battery runs dry, they can simply enter their personal passcode onto a keypad on the car door.
An End To Parking Space Hell?
The new connected navigation system helps drivers reduce their travel times, avoiding hold-ups and re-routing around congestion. Real-time and predictive traffic information is provided by location specialists TomTom, while in-vehicle and in-cloud routing provided by Garmin ensures drivers are always offered the most efficient routes to their destination.
The latest versions of maps are always stored in the vehicle, meaning navigation is efficient even in locations without a network connection.
When drivers arrive at their destination, they are able to view on- and off-street parking space availability in real-time to cut down on wasted time locating somewhere to leave the car. The FordPass app can even help owners quickly and accurately locate where they’ve left their car in unfamiliar towns or large car parks. That may still leave drivers walking some distance to their destination of course, not everyone wants to park a mile away from the station when picking up a family member, just because the car detects there’s a free space in a suburban street.
All this tech sounds great on paper, but brokers and car insurance specialists will be keen to know how this connected data, and more importantly personal data, can be matched to personalised, PAYG car insurance.