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Ford's SYNC® in-car communication and infotainment system has been powered by Nuance technology since it was first released in 2007, allowing drivers to make hands-free telephone calls, control music and perform other functions with the use of voice commands. SYNC functionality has since been optimized with Nuance's new voice recognition capabilities that can accurately interpret the intent of spoken commands. By interpreting or understanding the user's request, SYNC will be able to execute the command or respond by coaching the user down the correct command pathway.

Strategy:
Optimize voice recognition accuracy and overall performance of Ford's SYNC with new voice capabilities that are designed to understand intent and meaning of natural, conversational commands

Results:
Nuance has created several language models for the core SYNC voice-activated functions and services, including phone, music, climate, navigation and traffic. With these language models, the SYNC system is able to interpret what the user is intending to do and then complete the task. The current SYNC voice system understands more than 10,000 first-level commands, up from 100 with the first-generation SYNC system, providing drivers with more command options for a natural, intuitive experience. Consumer acceptance and usage of voice control in the car continues to increase, with more than 85 percent of SYNC owners now using voice control while driving, up from 70 percent in previous internal research. Over 5 million Ford vehicles have been equipped with Ford SYNC between 2007 and 2012

Commentary:
"Nuance is continuously evolving its voice technology to provide drivers with a more natural and conversational interface. By combining our advanced voice recognition capabilities with intent and language understanding, we're not only able to hear what drivers are saying, but better understand what they are looking to accomplish - be it listen to songs by Train or change the temperature to 75 degrees."

"With each generation of SYNC, we have learned more about how drivers use the voice recognition system, and have continuously refined it so customers can do more and say more to get their tasks done more quickly and efficiently. With intent, we are examining how to take our voice recognition to the next level of command and control, helping further reduce the learning curve and improving ease of use - and ultimately building higher customer satisfaction. In the end, we want the user's wish to be the system's command."

Brigitte Richardson
Global Voice Control Technology & Speech Systems Lead Engineer
Ford Motor Co.

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