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With Live Traffic Updates, Over-The-Air Updates, Active Drive Assist, 2021 Ford F-150 Is Most Connected Truck On The Road

New TomTom Global Traffic Service through Sync 4 will help 2021 F-150 owners maneuver around traffic congestion. Active Drive Assist feature for next-gen F-150 offers hands-free driving, for first time ever. OTA updates could be game changer for maintenance.

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“It’s just more things to break or go wrong with the truck.” I can just see the comment now from some old-school F-150 owner who is clinging to his 200,000+ mile PN-96, Tenth Generation F-Series. This argument, along with the “I like V8s because they’re loud” is tiresome to me. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect them.

But, I like new automotive technology. Call me an early adapter. And sure, there’s some merit to the “more technology equals more that can go wrong” mindset. I just don’t worry about that and like when technology makes life easier, especially in an expensive vehicle like the Ford F-150.

I’ve joked for a long time that today’s vehicles need a “get me the heck out of here” button when traffic gets heavy. So, I was excited to see that Ford has inched closer to that with a recent partnership with TomTom Global.

Let’s take a closer look at what it means for the 2021 Ford F-150.

2021 Ford F-150 interior sketchTomTom Global Traffic Service
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.

Sync 4 system in 2021 Ford F-150Most connected F-150 ever
F-150 represents Ford’s next big step in bringing connected vehicles to customers. All-new SYNC 4 is standard on the new truck, which arrives this fall, helping keep owners connected and make their days more productive with more natural voice control available as well as real-time mapping and customizable information on demand. The technology builds on more than 10 years of SYNC innovation by helping minimize distractions with hands-free voice control as well as core features such as making phone calls and selecting music.

Ford’s navigation system and TomTom Traffic are fully connected to and informed by the internet with maps the latest available traffic and construction information, ensuring customers are getting the most up-to-date info for their routes. Ford also equipped SYNC 4 with optional navigation with the ability to share parking space availability and prices.

By taking advantage of state-of-the-art, cloud-based voice processing, SYNC 4 can understand conversational requests, such as “Find me the best Thai restaurant” and offer data-based suggestions to drivers. Staying in contact with friends and family also becomes easier, with natural speech recognition enabling communication via SMS and email.

Active Drive Assist in Mustang Mach-EDriver-assist technologies on 2021 Ford F-150
All-new F-150 offers the latest driver-assist features as part of Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0. More features are now standard on XL, including Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection to help avoid a possible collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian, rearview camera with dynamic hitch assist, auto high-beam headlamps and auto on/off headlamps.

F-150 also adds 10 new driver-assist features and is the only pickup to offer Active Drive Assist, which allows for hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways in all 50 states and Canada. Its advanced driver-facing camera tracks head position and driver eye gaze to enable hands-free driving when available. It allows owners on certain sections of pre-mapped, divided highways to drive with their hands off the steering wheel – if they continue to pay attention to the road ahead – granting them an additional level of comfort during long drives.

The Active Drive Assist prep kit contains the hardware required for this feature, while the software to enable functionality, expected in the third quarter of the 2021 calendar year, will be delivered by over-the-air update or dealer visit. Separate payment will be required to activate full functionality at that time.

Other new available features include Intersection Assist, which detects oncoming traffic while the driver is attempting a left turn. If there is risk of a collision with an oncoming vehicle, F-150 will apply the brakes to mitigate or avoid it. F-150 is the only light-duty full-size pickup with available Active Park Assist 2.0, which handles all steering, shifting, braking and accelerator controls during a parallel or perpendicular parking maneuver while the driver holds down a button.

2021 FordF-150 interior instrument panel

I’m sure I will hear from many who say this is unnecessary technology, too expensive or too unpredictable. But this is what all new vehicles today will be getting, so why not let America’s best-selling vehicle be one of the first out of gate with it? To me it only makes good sense and I’m embracing all of this technology as good for the consumer.
What say you? Leave me your comments (even if they’re predictable). I want to hear your concerns about any of these new features on the 2021 F-150.

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.

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