2011 MyFord Touch Automotive Interface

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There used to be a time when radio stations were selected by pushing on flimsy black plastic tabs that jutted out from the radio console. The radio dials were also analog, and you were forced to control the temperature in a car by tweaking knobs every two minutes to avoid freezing or heating yourself into great discomfort.

Well, those days are clearly gone and today we find ourselves in a place where our cars are quickly transforming Want a little more intimate lighting with your Barry White MP3s? Use Touch to enhance those special moments. (Photo: Ford)
into something that feels more like an iPhone on four wheels than a mechanical beast meant for transportation alone. The software that runs our vehicles is evolving in such a way that it threatens to forever change our antiquated notions of how we interact with our cars, and the company that is leading the charge into a reinvention of your dashboard more than any other, is Ford.

Ford began this journey into the unknown with Microsoft as a partner, using the Microsoft Auto platform as a basis for Ford Sync, which debuted in 2007. The most recent offering from Ford named, MyFord Touch, is a complete redesign on the interface that Sync once had, still retaining Sync as its beating heart. When Ford designed Touch, they pulled from all the existing entertainment and home electronic platforms and sought to seamlessly integrate their designs into a single, simple control system. As part of the redesign process, the dashboard has also been rebuilt to make it more intuitive with their iPhone on four wheels approach.
 
MyFord Touch consists of 3 displays – one 8-inch display that is part of the centre stack, with two other 4.2-inch LCD displays located on either side of the speedometer. The interface is divided up neatly into four colour-coded categories: Entertainment, Phone, Navigation, and Climate. The main touchscreen interface on the centre stack always maintains a small border that displays two categories at the top (phone and navigation) and two categories at the bottom (entertainment and climate). No matter where you are or what you are doing in the menu system, you'll be able to sneak a quick glance at the border areas to easily see the status of each category. The two displays to the side of the speedo perform different tasks. The display to the left shows you important car-related information – fuel gauge, tachometer, odometer, etc. On the right is the secondary interface for the four categories accessed at the main touchscreen display – essentially a way for you to know what is going on without having to steal a glance at the centre console. This wealth of features can all be controlled in several different ways – using the touchscreen interface, using five-way cell phone-style buttons mounted on the steering wheel, or by using voice activation. This allows each individual to navigate the Touch options in a way that works best for them.

While MyFord Touch is driven by, and based on, Sync, there are features that are exclusive to Touch – video playback, control over interior ambient lighting colours, photo backgrounds imported using the built-in support for SD memory cards, and the ability to access the Web by plugging in a 3G/4G modem, or by parking the car near a WiFi hotspot. Other notable features include two USB 2.0 ports, support for USB-connected keyboards, RCA A/V input jacks, an RSS feed aggregator with text-to-voice support, a built-in web browser, and a list of audio features/capabilities that would make an iPod quake in its boots.

The work that Ford has done with Touch is nothing short of groundbreaking. Other manufacturers may have similar ideas, but Ford has actually implemented them, and done quite well doing so. We can only expect that the next generation of Touch, in its march toward being a full entertainment system, will include a hard drive and some sort of HUD (Heads Up Display) integrated into the display system.

If any of this interests you, you will find MyFord Touch in a number of upcoming 2011 Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Look for Touch to come out first with the 2011 Ford Edge, the Lincoln MKX (branded MyLincoln Touch), followed by the 2012 Ford Focus.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Ford, Lincoln, 2012, 2011, Edge, Focus, MKX, Mustang, MyFord Touch, MyLincoln Touch,

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