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Ford adds Google Maps to Sync platform

Ford will add Google Maps to its send to its Sync in-cabin application system. The effort is the latest cloud computing service that the automaker is adding on to its IT stack.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

This post originally appeared on Smart Planet.

Ford said Tuesday that it will add Google Maps to its send to its Sync in-cabin application system. The effort is the latest cloud computing service that the automaker is adding on to its IT stack.

As noted in a previous interview with Smart Planet, Ford is building a technology stack inside its vehicles as a way to set the automaker apart from its rivals. Microsoft’s Sync platform is the base layer and Ford handles the integration with the hardware and safety and middleware. On top of that technology sits what Ford hopes will be an app ecosystem.

K. Venkatesh Prasad, head of Ford’s infotronics research and advanced engineering team outlined Ford’s grand plan. From our interview with Prasad:

Ford is looking to develop a platform with application programming interfaces (APIs) that can bring partners into the car. This approach means that Ford’s platforms have to be open yet implemented in a way that adds intelligence to the driving experience instead of being a distraction. Prasad said the bottom line aim is for Ford to make the minutes we spend commuting more productive. “Our focus really is on trying to embrace the notion to reduce the number of steps to do the obvious,” said Prasad.

Prasad sees multiple cloud services being sent to automobiles in the future.

The Google Maps effort (statement) is one piece of that app puzzle and highlights how Ford integrates new services but controls the user interface. In a nutshell, Google Maps will be added to Ford’s send to Sync feature, which allows drivers to send destinations from Google Maps to their Ford via a cloud-based Sync traffic, directions and information application.

Drivers will download the destination information via their mobile phones and the information will become audible turn-by-turn directions.

The send to Sync feature will be available later in June and be available on existing 2010-2011 models with Sync.

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