SHANGHAI, China – Ford China announced today the launch of SYNC+, a new in-vehicle infotainment system built specifically for Chinese consumers, powered by Baidu’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology. SYNC+ will be rolled out later this year in a range of new locally-built Ford and Lincoln vehicles, bringing Chinese consumers a new level of connectivity experience, and making their lives easier and more enjoyable.

SYNC+ marks an important milestone for Ford China as the company revamps its connectivity strategy and responds faster to the needs of Chinese consumers. To cater to Chinese consumer preferences, the SYNC+ high-definition touch screen will be offered in different sizes – from 12.3 inches to 12.8-inches – depending on the vehicle.

“SYNC+ is a clear demonstration of our ‘Best of Ford, Best of China’ mission,” said Joseph Liu, vice president of marketing sales and service, Ford China and Vice President marketing sales and services
Acting president national distribution and service divisionacting president, Ford National Distribution Services Division (NDSD). “Chinese consumers want their vehicles to be more intelligent and connected. To support this, Ford is working closely with Baidu to create the most trusted connectivity experience in China, leveraging Ford’s hundred years of experience in designing, developing and manufacturing quality vehicles, as well as Baidu’s industry-leading AI technology.”

SYNC+ marks a significant milestone in Ford and Baidu’s collaboration in the field of connectivity. In June 2018, Ford and Baidu signed a Letter of Intent to jointly explore areas of cooperation in connectivity, artificial intelligence and digital marketing.

“Ford is an important strategic partner for Baidu, and we will continue to work closely in many areas including autonomous driving and connectivity,” said Zhenyu Li, vice president and general manager of Baidu's Intelligent Driving Group. “We are starting to see the results of our joint efforts. With our AI technology and ecosystem resources, Baidu is committed to working with Ford to build the smartest vehicles in China.”

Enriched connectivity experiences

Seamless Mobility Experience: Vehicle owners will be able to enjoy a seamless, end-to-end mobility experience across SYNC+ and the FordPass App by simply scanning a QR code. They will not only have access to Baidu’s vast ecosystem of information and services, but also unique FordPass services, such as vehicle health reminders, online service booking, vehicle pick-up and return to the service center, digital roadside assistance and in-vehicle emergency assistance. Navigation destinations can also be shared between FordPass and SYNC+. With FordPass, customers can also remotely activate vehicle functions, including: remote start, lock and unlock, turning on the air conditioning and checking fuel and oil levels.

Intelligent Voice Assistant: Powered by Baidu’s AI technology, SYNC+ offers natural Mandarin language recognition, combining over 150 real-life scenarios and their related speech patterns to perform actual voice interaction with vehicle owners. Like a personal in-vehicle assistant, SYNC+ can understand and complete natural language commands, such as adjusting the air conditioning temperature and activating navigation and entertainment.

Smart Navigation: Leveraging Baidu’s robust navigation capability, SYNC+ provides real-time 3D mapping – both day and night versions – and traffic information, and plans the best route to help customers avoid traffic and save time. It can also recommend points of interest.

Rich Entertainment Ecosystem: SYNC+ provides significant entertainment content, including music, radio, audio books and news. With machine learning and data analysis capability, it even provides personalized recommendations based on customer preferences and demands. SYNC+ will be the first platform to launch the iQIYI online video functionality powered by DuerOS for Apollo, so customers can relax and enjoy movies and TV programs while parked, for example while waiting for their children to finish school.

“Life in Car” Services: A vast array of “life in car” services can be accessed in-vehicle to address daily needs, such as booking hotels, purchasing movie tickets, ordering food, searching for parking and checking flight and train information, all via voice control from within the car. Payments are easily made by scanning a QR code via WeChat, Alipay and Baidu Wallet.

“Vehicle to Smart Home" Control Connectivity: With SYNC+, the vehicle can connect with smart home appliances from brands that are part of the Baidu ecosystem, such as robotic vacuums, lamps, air purifiers and air conditioners. This innovative feature allows customers to control their smart home via voice control while inside the vehicle.

Continuous optimization

Running on the industry-leading NXP i.MX 8 multi-core vehicle processor, SYNC+ will offer Ford customers a smooth and reliable smart connected experience.

Ford and Baidu will continue to use consumer feedback to optimize the SYNC+ interface and system; work together to develop more innovative in-vehicle applications based on AI technology; and upgrade the software and features via over-the-air (OTA) updates.

Recognizing that data privacy and security are of critical importance, the Ford team applies its global security guidelines and works closely with Baidu and its suppliers to ensure comprehensive data security. A third-party security team carries out system testing to further improve and ensure overall security, and all transmitted data is encrypted to ensure data privacy and security.