Ford is aggressively pursuing opportunities in the mobile space in its quest to “fundamentally rethink transportation”, its CEO, Mark Fields, said in the Mobile is Connected Living keynote.
It is looking to transition from being an “automotive company” to an “auto and mobility” company, through its Smart Mobility efforts – its plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience, and data and analytics.
It announced that the third generation of Ford Sync, its in-vehicle connectivity technology, is coming to Europe this year, with compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Sync allows drivers to control audio, navigation, and climate functions and connected smartphones using conversational voice commands.
A new Kuga car, showcased at MWC, will boast the new system.
By 2023, Ford expects 43 million vehicles on the road to use Sync.
Fields also said the company will “triple engineering investment” in driver assist technology, speeding the roll-out of semi‑automated systems that make it easier to park and drive in heavy traffic.
“Congestion and gridlock is on the rise,” he said, adding that some people believe commuting can be more successful than their job, and the company wants to use technology to fix this.
One example is the GoPark app, which is a predictive parking system capable of directing drivers to streets where they’re most likely to find a space, and which will pilot in the UK.
FordPass, a “new customer experience platform”, will also debut this year in Europe. Features include a marketplace offering access to mobility services and partners; FordGuides who are able to help members resolve challenges; and FordHubs, where customers can experience new innovations.
New partners for FordPass include Mobile City, a mobile parking payment company.