I’m on Twitter ( you should follow me @driversside and @f150writer) and I follow people who offer interesting perspective on things I care about. So it’s only natural that I follow Ford North America Product Manager Mike Levine (@mrlevine).
Recently he posted some unbelievable photos and drone video of a Ford Ranger valiantly climbing up a remote mountainside, on a rocky 13-mile trail. And other than how cool it was for that Ranger FX4 to beast through the wilderness like that, and the photos of it and the scenery are stunning (see below image), but I thought, how the heck do you know where to go if you’re driving that trail. Surely GPS doesn’t chime in with a “at the large boulder make a sharp right turn.”
At the same time I was thinking about that, I saw a press release come from Ford about a new partnership with a navigation company named Telenav that enables in-vehicle navigation even when you’re out of cell coverage.
In the past, when you’re in a remote location sometimes you look down at your phone and it says no service. That can be a good thing if you’re trying to disconnect from the world, but if you’re trying to navigate somewhere it can be unnerving. Ford and Telenav are helping ensure their connected navigation technologies continue working on far-off adventures unlike smartphone mapping apps that cease to work outside cellular range.
Telenav is a leading provider of connected-car and location-based services. As part of this agreement with Ford, Telenav will supply hybrid navigation software and services that continue to work smoothly even when users venture out of network coverage. The available hybrid navigation solution, which stores maps and continues routing if adventures take drivers out of cell coverage, is part of the SYNC 4 technology available in the newly redesigned Ford F-150 and Bronco.
“Customers want connected vehicle technologies to work more like smartphones with real-time, personalized services – and that is exactly what we are offering with Ford SYNC 4 innovations such as Telenav’s navigation system,” said Gary Jablonski, manager, Ford Connected Vehicle Infotainment Systems. “F-150 and Bronco drivers now can get richer, quicker location search results, tow more confidently with custom routes and keep following off-road trail maps where other navigation systems go dark when cell coverage ends.”
Navigating off the grid and off the road in the Ford Bronco or Ford F-150
This new navigation service includes specialized routing options for customers who are towing a trailer or off-roading, both important capabilities for these vehicles. The system guides users to routes best suited for the dimensions of their trailer to help avoid sharp turns, narrow bridges and low overpasses. Off-road enthusiasts can navigate to and on many 4X4 trails across North America, with additional trail maps to be added over time.
For everyday driving, the connected navigation experience will give F-150 and Bronco owners the latest maps for reliable, time-saving navigation and location information such as finding cheap and available parking or a well-reviewed restaurant to eat along the way. The navigation solution uses real-time traffic conditions to provide the fastest routes with alerts of incidences like accidents and congestions along the route. To help minimize distractions while driving, customers can use SYNC 4’s digital voice assistance for many of these features.
“Ford and Telenav are building on a long-term collaboration to help customers get the most out of their vehicles, whether it’s advising F-150 customers to steer around traffic jams to help save time getting to jobs or keeping Bronco off-roaders on track on their exciting adventures,” said H.P. Jin, Telenav Co-Founder and CEO. “We’re proud to be a partner in that with our connected navigation solution and services.”
F-150 and Bronco customers also will have access to up-to-date landmarks and businesses in the surrounding area with their descriptions and user ratings from Yelp. Telenav’s one-box search technology makes looking up addresses and destinations simple and convenient, intelligently prioritizing results based on the user’s location and personal preferences. The navigation solution incorporates prediction service that anticipates the user’s destinations and automatically makes routing suggestions, all without the user having to enter a single word.
Ford’s Sync 4 system continues to expand navigation services
I wrote earlier about Ford also partnering with global traffic service company TomTom that will provide real-time traffic updates in the 2021 F-150. The 14th-generation F-150 is perhaps the most connected truck on the road.
As part of the 2021 Ford F-150 and through the all-new Sync 4 system, Ford has inked a deal with TomTom Global to provide real-time traffic service to the next-generation F-150, along with the Mustang Mach-E.
“The all-new F-150 is Ford’s flagship and the Mustang Mach-E is one of the industry’s most exciting vehicles this year – both are leading the next automotive revolution of connected vehicles,” said Stuart Taylor, executive director, Enterprise Connectivity. “Their next-generation SYNC technologies have twice the computing power of the previous-generation system to do much more, including real-time, smartphone-like mapping that can help you adjust on the fly to quicker routes based on their network of millions of connected devices.”
TomTom Traffic provides accurate, real-time traffic information, which will keep Ford drivers informed and can help them reduce their travel time. The advanced service can even predict traffic changes such as congestion before they happen by processing more than 70 million driving hours every day from millions of connected devices and leveraging SYNC’s increased computing power to update navigation systems every 30 seconds.
“Automakers choose TomTom Traffic for its accuracy, freshness and reliability,” said Antoine Saucier, Managing Director, TomTom Automotive. “Ford’s decision to include TomTom Traffic in its next-gen SYNC connected vehicle technology is another step towards our vision of a world free of congestion.”
This new feature, which really appeals to me, is part of the latest automotive technology found in the 14th-generation F-150. Ford is claiming the 2021 Ford F-150 is the most connected and most technologically advanced pickup truck ever.
These partnerships with these global leaders in technology show Ford’s commitment to automotive technology. I’ve always been someone who leaned heavily on my Waze app on my phone as my go-to for navigation. But when you’re out of range or in a dead spot having the technology like Telenav offers a real peace of mind. Especially if you’re going to enjoy your 2021 Ford Bronco or 2021 F-150 to the fullest by going on off-road adventures.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.