Good news for Mustang techies coming out of the current Consumers Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Ford and Microsoft are adding navigation and information features to their Sync system in an effort to stay ahead of their competitors. The companies have developed a third generation of Sync that will give drivers audio-based traffic reports, turn-by-turn navigation and personalized news, without the need for a display screen
The upgraded service, called Sync with Traffic, Directions and Information, will be available this spring on the 2010 Mustang.
The services will be free for the first three years and cost about $8 a month afterward. So far, monthly Sync services have been free. Sync hardware is standard on Lincoln vehicles and an option on other Ford brands.
To use the traffic feature, a driver can go online and program a favorite destination, such as a work location. The driver will get traffic reports via text message to a Bluetooth-equipped mobile device.
If driving, the person also can have the Sync system read the message aloud.
The second new feature is turn-by-turn directions. By voice, a driver can specify a destination, say, the nearest florist, and the technology will locate the business and provide audible directions. Drivers also have the option of making a hands-free call to the business.
The audible directions would come through the stereo and be displayed on the radio screen. Drivers also could receive directions through a text message and map sent to a mobile device.
In the same manner, Sync will provide weather, news and sports reports. Drivers would go online and select "favorites" in those categories to get specialized reports.