- The latest enhancements to Ford's Sync 911 Assist will debut on the 2015 Ford Mustang.
- Sync enhancements include technology that provides more information to emergency operators, including details about the crash and seatbelt usage.
- The 2015 Ford Mustang will be available beginning this fall with a base price of $24,425.
DEARBORN, Michigan — The latest enhancements to Ford's Sync 911 Assist will debut on the 2015 Ford Mustang.
The 2015 Mustang will be available beginning this fall with a base price of $24,425, including an $825 destination fee.
Ford spokeswoman Emily Rosen Olin told Edmunds that the latest Sync enhancements "will be available on other select 2015 models, to be announced at a later date" and that the new features are not downloadable to older versions of the system.
Ford Sync, developed in partnership with Microsoft and introduced in 2007, synchronizes with Bluetooth-enabled devices and allows users to place phone calls and access infotainment functions by voice command or through dashboard controls.
The addition of 911 Assist in 2008 as a subscription-free emergency feature lets the system connect vehicle occupants directly to a 911 operator in the event of airbag deployment or if the fuel supply is cut off. Ford says that at the time this was the industry's first technology that was able to call an emergency operator directly, rather than routing calls through a third party.
Since its launch, Sync has been improved steadily with software upgrades and additional features, including onboard diagnostics, voice-activated traffic and directions, AppLink, which enables voice control of smartphone apps, and MyFordTouch, which provides even higher levels of connectivity and systems integration.
The latest Sync enhancements include technology that provides more detailed information to operators in an emergency. In addition to GPS coordinates, the system is now able to transmit precise information about the crash, as well as seatbelt usage and other data.
This information, said Rosen Olin, "will help first responders better assess the severity of a crash and determine the appropriate response (like number of ambulances to send)," even without voice communication from the occupants.
As with previous Sync systems, owner consent is required before 911 Assist is enabled, and the customer has the option of cancelling an emergency call before it is placed.
"Sync will only broadcast relevant information to save time, and it constructs a very efficient message for the operator," said David Hatton, global product leader and electrical engineer, Ford Connected Services, in a statement. "After the introductory message, the voice line opens automatically and occupants can speak directly with the operator via Sync's hands-free functionality."
At General Motors, the OnStar system was originally developed as an emergency airbag deployment notification device and a means for vehicle occupants to contact a remote call center for assistance. Since then, it has evolved to include a full suite of safety, convenience, connectivity and infotainment functions, similar to those offered by Ford's Sync.
OnStar debuted on the 1997 Cadillac DeVille, Seville and Eldorado models and quickly rolled out to other GM vehicles. At the time of its launch, according to GM, it was the industry's first embedded telematics system.
In 2009, OnStar was upgraded to include the ability to contact a 911 operator directly, rather than connecting vehicle occupants to a call center. Through electronic data transmission, the system is able to send the dispatcher GPS coordinates, as well as information about the type and severity of a crash.
Edmunds says: While consumers will be impressed by increased connectivity and convenience, the evolving safety features of systems like Sync and OnStar will be most appreciated in an emergency.