To battle the widespread problem of SMS distraction, Ford will introduce a new text-to-speech feature, SYNC, later this year.
A new study commissioned by the blue oval shows that 33% of UK drivers admit to having read texts behind the wheel, a highly distracting habit proven to contribute to traffic accidents.
Powered by Microsoft, the text-to-speech feature retrieves messages using a simple voice command from Bluetooth-connected compatible smartphones. The incoming message will then be read aloud.
SYNC also enables drivers to send a text reply by voice command from a predetermined list of responses, such as “See you in 10 minutes”.
It will debut on the new B-MAX and will then be rolled out to other vehicles in Ford’s lineup, including Focus and Kuga.
Christof Kellerwessel, chief engineer for electrical systems engineering at Ford of Europe, said: “Text messages can be a distraction for drivers, so the benefit of a system that can read messages aloud from compatible smartphones is obvious.”