The second largest US automaker, which has taken heat from customers and experts alike for its Sync infotainment systems, has moved to task a well known technology company – Microsoft – to handle its over-the-air system updates.
The familiar computing powerhouse had been behind the first two generations of the automaker’s Sync infotainment system but Ford decided to switch for the third installment to Blackberry’s QNX software. The new system, introduced in 2014, will find its way on production cars this year and be the base for Ford and Lincoln’s ranges by the end of next year. The deal, which is based on cloud computing, underscores the positive relationship between Ford and Microsoft and also shows how the latter, under new chief executive officer Satya Nadella is focusing the business towards expanding its cloud-based software services. “Microsoft understands the automotive environment and the kinds of experiences that we’d like to enable,” commented Don Butler, director of connected vehicles at Ford on the sidelines of the announcement event in Atlanta.
Models embedded with the new Sync 3 infotainment system will have the ability to link up with the Internet over a Wi-Fi connection and then download new feature through updates directly into the car’s hard rive – much like we usually do with our personal computer or smartphone. Ford partnered with Microsoft to gain access to the latter’s global network of data centers, with the cloud-based software updates reaching the worldwide customers faster and in a more reliable way.
Via Automotive News