Nuance and Ford Reveal Natural Language Capabilites for Next-Generation of SYNC

Nuance Communications and Ford today unveiled significant enhancements to the speech capabilities of Ford SYNC, the in-car communications and entertainment system offered as standard equipment on most Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury cars.

The two companies have worked together to enhance the SYNC voice user interface that will power the new MyFord Touch driver connect technology launching this year. 

“The Ford SYNC system has received an overwhelmingly positive response since its inception, as it helps people safely interact with MP3 players, navigation systems, and mobile phones with simple, natural voice commands that work well and reduce overall in-car distractions,” Jim Buczkowski, global director of electrical engineering at Ford Motor, said in a statement. “By integrating the newest innovations in voice technology, we’ve underscored our commitment to providing our customers with a truly unique and captivating in-car experience that sets Ford apart from any other vehicle on the road.”

The next-generation of Ford’s exclusive SYNC system takes advantage of Nuance’s natural language understanding speech technologies to recognize more than 10,000 commands. New features include:

  • One-Shot Destination Entry. Users can now speak their commands for navigation, both when entering a full address in one utterance, as well as when searching for points of interest. For instance, Find me the closest Italian restaurant or 1 Wayside Road, Burlington, Massachusetts will generate local results that drivers can continue to navigate to that destination just by saying Take me there.
  • Flexible, voice-activated control of the entire infotainment system with natural music selection capabilities that recognize a variety of pronunciations. Users can search for music by title, artist, album, or playlist, and select any of the SIRIUS satellite programs and channels by speaking the type of music, sports, or news programs in which they are interested.
  • Voice commands extended to the SIRIUS Travel Link information portal, that provides drivers and passengers with access to up-to-the-minute information and entertainment content, such as sports scores, current weather, traffic, fuel prices, or movies listings, by saying I want to know what gas costs or Get me NFL scores.

The new SYNC system supports not only U.S. English, but also U.S. Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese, German, European French, U.K. English, Italian, European Spanish, European Portuguese, Dutch, and Mandarin Chinese. Ford SYNC will be available in Europe on the 2012 Ford Focus.

“Ford is truly an innovator in providing cutting edge voice-activated in-car communications,” Michael Thompson, senior vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile, said in a statement. “In-car distractions resulting from visual confirmation and manual input in-car systems and devices are at an all-time high, so drivers and passengers need speech recognition solutions that work well and are easy to use. By working directly with Ford on the continuous development of its SYNC technology, we’re able to bring innovative mobile input solutions to market in the places where hands-free solutions are in the highest demand.”

For more information and a demonstration of Ford SYNC, please visit http://www.syncmyride.com/.

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