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Ford Gets Real (Time) on Parking, Fueling and Charging Info

Partnership with Inrix brings embedded technology to Sync 4 interface
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Want to know where the nearest cheap fuel is? How about an open parking space or an available public charging port for your electric vehicle?

Mustang Mach-E Sync 4 touchscreen (Image: Ford)

Ford has it covered with the latest version of its infotainment platform—Sync 4—thanks to a new partnership with Inrix.

The system brings such functions, which already are available via smartphone apps, directly into future Ford vehicles, starting this autumn with the 2021 F-150 pickup truck, Mustang Mach-E electric crossover and all-new Bronco SUV.

How it Works

Inrix, a Washington-based traffic and transportation analytics firm, collects data from some 300 million connected devices worldwide. The information is integrated with predictive analytics to provide drivers with an up-to-date look at the surrounding infrastructure and automatic routing to chosen locations.

Users can compare parking, charging and fueling prices and availability of nearby providers directly through their infotainment systems. When applicable, parking spots can be reserved and paid for in advance.

Over-the-air software updates

The fuel station locater is powered by IHS Markit’s OPIS technology. The system provides real-time pricing information for more than 380,000 fuel stations around the world, according to the partners.

“Customers want connected vehicle technologies to work more like smartphones with real-time, personalized services,” says Gary Jablonski, manager of Ford’s connected vehicle infotainment systems. For example, he notes, many F-150 owners drive from job to job in new areas where “we can help guide them to gas stations and parking spots closest to them, or perhaps a bit further if they are looking for cheaper options.”

OTA and Improved Voice Recognition

Ford previously announced several other upgrades that are being rolled out with Sync 4. These include:

  • Larger touchscreens
  • Conversational voice recognition
  • Over-the-air software update capabilities
  • Cloud connectivity

The system has twice the computing power of current Sync3 devices. It also supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

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