Ford's Microsoft tech coming to UK cars

But will it Sync or swim?

But will it Sync or swim?

Car maker Ford has announced that its Sync communications and entertainment system - jointly developed with Microsoft - will come to Europe next year.

Ford Motor Company president and CEO Alan Mulally announced the system will be introduced globally at the Consumer Electronics Shows in Las Vegas.

Since its launch in 2007, the system has only been available in North America.

Sync uses Bluetooth and voice-recognition technology to allow drivers and passengers to control digital media, mobile phones, USB memory devices and other vehicle functions.

Sync also connects to real-time traffic information - including traffic speed and incident information - which can be accessed using voice commands and relayed via the car's audio system.

Directions to local businesses can also be downloaded to the vehicle and relayed to the driver or sent as a text message to their mobile phone.

The system works by using a GPS chip to send the location of the car to a central server which then works out the turn-by-turn directions and sends them back to the car.

Other information that can be received through Sync includes news and weather reports, which can be set up through its syncmyride.com website.

Users can also connect their mobile phone up to the system for hands-free calls and to read back text messages.

The version coming to Europe will be tailored to each individual market with nine European languages promised.

In a statement, Mulally said: "We're a car company but we're learning to think like an electronics company" when it come to introducing new products.

Sync is based on Microsoft's Automotive platform, which is also used by Fiat under the Blue & Me brand.