Ford is announcing new capability for the SYNC 911 Assist application: the communication of a vehicle’s location using GPS coordinates provided to emergency responders.
Available with certain 2011 model year vehicles, the GPS coordinates are generated by the vehicle’s onboard GPS receiver for additional accuracy.
Note: When a 911 Assist call is made, the operator can press ‘1’ for the vehicle to read out the GPS location or press ‘0’ to talk to the vehicle’s occupants (See video here).
“SYNC 911 Assist calls already come in on priority emergency lines, due to the call being placed from the customer’s personal cell phone versus an intermediary call center,” said Dave Hatton, global product leader/electrical engineer with Ford Connected Services.
“Currently, 911 Assist is designed to provide location information to emergency service providers through assisted GPS or signal triangulation – the same system providers rely on when dispatching help to mobile phone user emergency calls.
“The new system is designed to provide coordinates through the onboard GPS receiver in addition to assisted GPS, which adds an even greater level of location accuracy.”
The fee-free service is available in both the U.S. and Canada.
When the feature is turned on and a phone is Bluetooth-paired to SYNC, 911 Assist can make a call directly to a local emergency operator in the event of an accident involving the activation of an airbag or emergency fuel pump shutoff.
With the GPS capabilities, the system is designed to not only alert the operator that a crash has occurred in a Ford vehicle, but to give the operator the option to retrieve the vehicle’s GPS coordinates.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an estimated 240 million calls are made to 911 in the U.S. each year. One third of those are wireless calls; in many communities, that number is one half or more.
911 Assist with GPS will be available on most SYNC-equipped 2011 vehicles, including the Ford Taurus, Focus, Flex, Fusion, Escape and F-150; as well as the Lincoln MKS, MKZ and MKT.
Vehicles featuring the new MyFord or MyLincoln Touch driver connect technology will also have the updated 911 Assist GPS capabilities, and offer customers a number of other emergency service options. A priority emergency screen, for example, will contain location information and quick-touch access to In Case of Emergency (ICE) contacts at the completion of a 911 Assist call.