Ford has revealed more about its plans to connect the car and the home using SYNC Connect and Amazon Echo, at the tech tradeshow CES.

Ford SYNC is currently installed on 15 million vehicles. It enables drivers to connect their smartphones to infotainment systems in their vehicles. It recognises voice controls, so the driver can do things like make a phone call or select apps using their voice, while keeping both hands on the wheel.

Amazon Echo is a speaker that responds to voice commands and works with cloud-based voice system Alexa to play music, set alarms and provide weather updates. Currently it’s only available in the US.

Ford SYNC owners will be able to use the Echo to get start/stop, lock/unlock, check the fuel level and get information about the vehicle location using their voice.

At home, the driver could ask: “Alexa, ask my Ford for my scheduled car start time.”
Alexa: “Here is the list of your current go times. You have a start time set for Monday at 7am, with a cabin temperature set to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Tuesday at 5:45am, with a cabin temperature set to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Owner: “Alexa, ask my Ford for my car’s driving range.”
Alexa: “You have an available range of 56 miles.”

The driver can also control in-house systems like lights and thermostats from their car. Within the car, they could say: “Alexa, turn on my porch light” or “Alexa, is my garage door closed?”

Check out the video above to find out more.

Ford is also integrating smart home platform Wink with the Ford SYNC AppLink, allowing drivers to access home automation features (such as turning a porch light on) from their phone.

Drones

Ford is partnering with Drone maker DJI for the DJI Drone Maker Challenge.

Red Ford pick up with drone in back

The goal is to create drone software that could be used by the United Nations Development Programme, allowing first responders to survey disaster scenes using drones.

Find out more about the competition here.

Driverless cars

The company has also revealed it is tripling the number of driverless vehicles this year, taking the number of cars from ten to 30. 

New vehicles in the Fusion Hybrid fleet will use Velodyne’s new ‘PUCK’ auto sensor. Sensors determine the distance to objects by scanning the surroundings millions of times each second, allowing the car to create a 3D model of the area. They can be mounted on the sideview mirror and have a range of 200m.

Ford driverless car

Ford built its first autonomous platform in 2005 for the Darpa Desert Classic challenge. Since then the technology has changed dramatically, according to Jim McBride, Ford’s technical leader for autonomous vehicles: “A decade ago, no one in the field knew what the art of the possible was. Today, we’re all hustling to make the most ambitious dreams become a reality.”

What do you think about Ford’s innovations? Would you like to command your home from your car? Let us know in the Comments section below.