Introduced at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show, Ford's new MyFord and MyFord Touch driver-connect technology provides a more intuitive and more capable system that streamlines and simplifies the two-way transfer of all types of in-vehicle information. Built around the second generation of the automaker's popular SYNC voice-recognition system that uses the Microsoft Auto 4.0 architecture, it's also designed to permit quick and easy upgrading without the need for any new hardware.

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MyFord Touch, which will be branded as MyLincoln Touch and MyMercury Touch when it appears on those products, creates a new take on the in-car interface that incorporates touch-sensitive buttons, touch screens, thumb-wheel controls and voice recognition in ways that more closely reflect how consumers interact with them on their other personal electronic devices. In addition to improved voice recognition capability, it also adds more connectivity options -- including an SD Card slot in its built-in Media Hub that facilitates easy database upgrades -- plus a second USB port and Wi-Fi capability.

Key visual elements in the basic MyFord package include a pair of 4.2-inch full-color LCD screens, one in the instrument cluster and one in the center stack. The enhanced MyFord Touch system features a 4.2-inch display on either side of the speedometer and upgrades the center-stack screen to an 8.0-inch LCD touch-sensitive unit. A five-way switch similar those used on cell phones and MP3 players located on each of the horizontal steering wheel spokes lets the driver control information displayed on these screens in a format that's color-keyed to each functional area. The center stack display is augmented by capacitive switches and expanded touch-screen capability which effectively replaces most of the conventional knobs and switchgear to give it a cleaner, more contemporary look.

By using reconfigurable displays and simplified voice commands, either iteration of the system can easily provide multiple layers of information as conditions warrant. According to Jason Johnson, Ford user interface design engineer, it's all about quick and easy data access. "Driving is the priority when you're behind the wheel. We've made it possible to simplify the content management so customers can drive with minimal distraction. In the end, what MyFord displays is really up to the driver."

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Although its first application will be on the new 2011 Lincoln MKX, Ford plans to introduce various forms of MyFord and MyFord Touch technology throughout its entire international product lineup during the course of normal cyclic upgrades. Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development, intends to make MyFord a part of the automaker's global DNA, along with continued enhancements to the basic SYNC system. "Across different models, different trim levels, even different countries, drivers immediately will know they're behind the wheel of a Ford vehicle equipped with the technology, safety and convenience features they expect."

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