Mobile World Congress is an event all about mobile phones and tablets, right? Then why has Ford rocked up with a couple of new cars? Partly to be the first car company ever to grace the show, and partly to launch its new B-Max with SYNC, a Siri-style voice-control tech that will make the B-Max “among the most technologically advanced small cars you can buy at any price.”
That quote is from Ford’s European CEO Stephen Odell, who’s helped launch SYNC at MWC to the impressed masses. So what does it do? At its base level, SYNC is a voice-recognition system that hooks up to your stereo, your phone, your GPS system and any flash drives that you choose to plug into its USB port.
But it gets far cleverer than just telling the B-Max which song to play or reading out your text messages. SYNC also boasts an ‘Emergency Assistance’ feature that could potentially save lives by speeding up response times.
SYNC can detect if you’ve had an accident and act accordingly. Essentially, if you’re in a prang big enough to set the airbags off, SYNC will automatically call up the emergency services (it knows which number to ring no matter which country you’re in, and speaks the local lingo), and alert them to the fact that there’s been an accident at your GPS co-ordinates.
It’s really impressive stuff from a company heavily invested in putting pioneering new tech into its cars, and it could actually save lives by helping to get emergency response teams to accident scenes much quicker.
SYNC is already in operation in US cars, but the B-Max represents the tech’s first steps onto British shores. Ford expects to ship 3.5 million SNYC-enabled cars by 2015.