Ford's SYNC screen (Getty)
Detroit, MI (written by Alisa Priddle/Detroit Free Press) -- Sync has its critics, but the in-car connectivity system designed for Ford's vehicles has been deemed innovative and pioneering enough to earn a place in the Computer History Museum.
A first-generation Sync module is being added to the permanent collection of the museum in Mountain View, Calif., to further document the effects of computing on society at large, said museum curator Alex Bochannek.
The 2007 introduction of Sync -- a collaboration of Ford and Microsoft -- was designed to seamlessly connect phones and other devices to vehicles and provide voice commands for their use. It was the start of a major commitment by Ford, which now offers Sync in vehicles around the world.
But the system still has bugs, which has dragged down overall quality scores of Ford vehicles in studies such as the annual J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Survey. The 2012 IQS will be released Wednesday.
Executive Chairman Bill Ford was at the museum Monday to deliver a lecture about mobility, sustainability and technology.
Earlier in the day, Ford attended the grand opening of the Ford Silicon Valley Lab in Palo Alto, an independent lab dedicated to building relationships in the tech-rich region and conducting research on personal mobility.
Bill Ford has called for carmakers and those in the electronics and telecommunications industries to work together to combat traffic gridlock and prevent accidents by using phones, sensors and other technology to allow vehicles to talk to one another and their surroundings to prevent accidents.
"We have been innovating for more than a century at Ford, but we acknowledge we don't have a monopoly on creativity," Ford said in a statement.
Paul Mascarenas, Ford's chief technical officer, said, "We are looking for unexpected solutions for the future, and we believe Silicon Valley is the right place to round out our global research organization."
Ford is playing catch-up to General Motors, which opened the GM Advanced Technology Silicon Valley Office in 2006 to identify trends and technologies that could apply to cars. The office pushed formobile wi-fi now available in GM vehicles.
While Ford has invested heavily in Sync, the new lab will also look at open-source hardware and software innovations that can enhance capabilities of future vehicles, and reduce the distracting effects of driving with more technology.
"As new ways of processing, curating and filtering information are conceived, the possibilities for enhancing personal mobility are virtually limitless," said Venkatesh Prasad, the lab's general manager.