Ford is expanding the reach of Ford SYNC globally with the European launch of its popular voice-controlled connectivity system, with the capability of now offering 19 languages.
SYNC was originally launched in North America in 2007 with three languages. With the additional 16 vernaculars, Ford will offer voice recognition capability, powered by Nuance Communications, in more languages than any other automaker offering voice control.
Teaching a car to speak
At the heart of SYNC is the speech engine, and Ford is working with its speech technology partner, Nuance Communications, to deliver a similar experience across the multiple languages.
Ford leverages significant investments made by Nuance to support the broad dialect coverage required in larger regions such as the United States. Additionally, regions such as Europe present unique challenges, in part because of the proximity of different countries and the resulting need for multilingual solutions.
For the customer, that means SYNC can recognize 10,000 voice commands in any one of the available 19 languages, and can cope with variances in accents, vocabulary and local dialects. (Read more here.)
With the language expansion, SYNC with MyFord Touch will be available in:
U.S. English, U.K. English, Australian English, European French, Canadian French, European Spanish, U.S. Spanish, European Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese Mandarin (supported through Mandarin Chinese).
Software, rather than hardware, solutions
As with many SYNC advancements over the years, the expanded language capabilities leverage the system’s flexible, software-based platform for a cost-effective and efficient solution.
Using a single, common hardware module equipped with Wi-Fi, SYNC can be easily configured for language on the assembly line. An on-the-line server connects with the SYNC module wirelessly, determines the appropriate software installation – including language – and downloads the information to the vehicle.
Using a common module and Wi-Fi installation avoids the logistics of stocking unique modules with every possible combination of language and capability offered by SYNC.
In fact, Ford would have had to produce more than 90 different hardware modules to accommodate all of the different languages installed at assembly plants around the world. (Read more here.)
Note: The Ford Focus will be the first vehicle to launch with SYNC in Europe in 2012.