Ford Focus will feature company’s industry-leading new MyFord system using voice commands and intuitive controls to better connect drivers with personalized vehicle information, entertainment features and vehicle-enhanced Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and PDAs

  • MyFord employs familiar cell phone-style five-way buttons and clear LCDs to provide expanded information and help manage the functionality available to drivers
  • MyFord is the next major Ford technology geared toward helping drivers complete their tasks while minimizing distractions
  • Combined with SYNC®, the customizable MyFord in-vehicle experience will spread through the worldwide Ford lineup

DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2010 – Already setting new standards for C-car styling, driving dynamics and refinement, the next-generation Ford Focus also debuts with the company’s new technology that changes the way people interact with their car’s vehicle information, entertainment features and even Bluetooth-enabled devices.

“This isn’t a new dashboard or a new instrument cluster or an interior redesign,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “MyFord rethinks how information is presented to drivers and how drivers are able to personalize the way they relate to the information or entertainment the car makes available to them. It’s a groundbreaking, intuitive interface that puts tremendous power at the hands of Focus owners.”

MyFord retains the traditional automotive interior layout – instrument cluster in front of the driver, center stack dividing the dashboard – and adds LCD screens to provide much of the visual information.

Drivers decide what – and how much – information is presented by using a combination of voice controls and five-way cell phone-style buttons mounted on the steering wheel. It’s easy to use, thanks to its layout and design. Plus, it’s tremendously scalable given all the functions available through the LCD screens and the power of SYNC®, the operating system behind MyFord.

“With MyFord, we’re not asking drivers to relearn how to turn up the heat or change the radio volume,” said John Schneider, chief engineer, Ford Connected Services Solutions Organization. “Those basic controls are exactly where you expect them. For those inclined to dive deeper and make their in-vehicle experience truly their own, though, there’s much more information and more control available with a few clicks of a steering wheel button.”

Interacting with MyFord
MyFord divides information in a familiar fashion: left-hand and right-hand. A five-way switch, similar to the one found on most mobile phones and MP3 players, exists on each side of the steering wheel crossbar to control the information.

“The steering wheel has all the necessary functions available in a very compact area, right where your hand falls as you grab the wheel,” said Gary Braddock, Ford group chief designer. “And the five-way buttons will feel familiar to anyone who has used a mobile phone or MP3 player. Drivers aren’t forced to use an unfamiliar interface like a joystick or rotary knob.”

On basic MyFord Connect trim levels, display duties are handled by two 4.2-inch full-color LCD screens, one in the center of the instrument panel and another atop the center stack. Higher-specification versions use a 4.2-inch LCD in the center of the instrument panel and an 8-inch touch-screen display in the center stack.

The instrument panel display, controlled by the left-side five-way controller, contains information about the vehicle: fuel economy, mechanical status, safety features and other information typically found in the vehicle message center. The center stack display, controlled by the five-way controller on the right side, contains information relating to the vehicle occupants: entertainment system settings, climate control information and communications functions.

On MyFord Connect models, a traditional telephone-style keypad and key command buttons surround the center stack display to provide quick access to commonly used features. Focus models with a touch-screen use a combination of on-screen buttons and the right-hand five-way controller to manage information.

Additionally, the voice command system made popular with Ford SYNC has been simplified and expanded, allowing users to control more with fewer words. Called “flattened syntax,” SYNC no longer requires an initial function command, so “Phone” followed by “Call John Smith” now becomes the more conversational “Call John Smith.”
“Everything has been designed around usability,” said Tom Cullen, project manager for MyFord. “Our goal was to provide the means – multiple means, in many cases – for drivers to accomplish what they want to do. More importantly, we had to keep the focus on driving and not confuse drivers with a huge collection of buttons.

“MyFord was designed to work with the driver, not force the driver to work with it,” he added.

How MyFord driver connect technology accommodates all types of drivers To ensure the MyFord system is an instant hit with Focus buyers, designers prioritized four key attributes of the interface design:

  • Attentive: MyFord uses controls, screens and other interfaces with which most users are already comfortable and familiar through popular consumer electronics devices.
  • Approachable: MyFord is attractive, using rich graphics, vibrant colors, high-definition screens and easy-to-use buttons that are appealing to the eye and the touch.
  • Clear: Rather than an imposing cluster of buttons, switches and dials, MyFord is clean-looking with controls that fall readily to hand and displays that are exactly where users expect to find them. Most major functions can be controlled through voice commands without the driver’s hands ever leaving the steering wheel.
  • Connected: For technophiles, MyFord can be configured to display the information they want in the way they want it. For technophobes, radio, heating and air-conditioning controls are still accessible via familiar stack-mounted controls, so there’s no need to learn a host of new commands to operate the vehicle.

Why design a new interface? In recent years, the variety of in-car communications, navigation, audio and entertainment technologies that consumers demand has outgrown the traditional “button and knob” interface. Consumers have been suffering “button fatigue,” even as they’re demanding more in-car connectivity, more options and more information, which is likely to grow still further.

“When we started work on MyFord, we saw this huge groundswell of new functionality and capability hitting consumers and expanding right before our eyes,” said Braddock. “We knew that unless we devised an intuitive interface for these capabilities, they would detract – and possibly distract – from the driving experience.”

For example, consumers still were required to interrupt much of their communications, information flow and music when entering the vehicle. Once inside, the focus often was on song selection, making a phone call or setting up the navigation system rather than on driving.

The original SYNC system helped provide a seamless flow of information and entertainment to drivers. It now has even more capability available, and MyFord will help manage the immense functionality available to drivers. MyFord is the next major Ford technology geared toward helping drivers complete their tasks while keeping the focus on safe, attentive driving.

A global Ford technology As new and refreshed models continue to arrive on the world stage, all Ford vehicles will be available with an implementation of MyFord. There may be minor variations across car lines and different regions throughout the world, but the interface will be instantly recognizable in Ford vehicles across the globe.

“We’ve developed an environment that, as it appears in each of our models, will make a Ford feel like a Ford. Across the country, across the globe, all of our products will have the same type of sensory experience,” said Kuzak. “Combined with the interior, exterior and powertrain DNA we’re building into each vehicle, our commitment to a global Ford brand is apparent.”