This week at CES, Ford provided new details about a partnership with navigation app Waze, which will bring Waze's GPS directions onto the touch screen of SYNC 3 vehicles when connected via USB to an iPhone. Powered by Ford AppLink, the feature will let users operate Waze "completely through a vehicle's touch screen," as well as allow for voice control.
As long as the Ford vehicle includes a SYNC 3 infotainment system, users will be able to plug their iPhone into the USB port while running Waze to see the app projected onto the dashboard's touch screen system. Afterwards, all of Waze's features will be accessible, including crowdsourced navigation updates, liking and disliking user-created warnings, adding a new hazard report, carpool lane navigation, and Talk to Waze voice commands.
“Our goal is to bring a human-centered approach to technology in the vehicle, making it as easy as possible for people to integrate the tools that matter most to them,” said Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services. “With the flexibility of our SYNC 3 software and AppLink, customers can easily use Waze to get all the traffic and navigation help they need – on a big screen and without having to fiddle around with their phones while driving.”
The partnership was previously announced at Mobile World Congress last year, and Waze product lead for in-car applications, Jens Baron, mentioned that the company has been working on optimizing the Waze experience on an infotainment system since that time. Using Ford's AppLink SmartDeviceLink (SDL) on iOS, Baron explained that users will "get the most updated version from Waze," and it will be the same as driving with Waze on a smartphone.
Ford explained that the Waze integration will launch in the coming weeks and will be supported on any 2018 model year Ford vehicle that has SYNC 3 version 3.0 or greater. Other vehicles with SYNC 3 will also be able to get Waze via an over-the-air update or update via USB. In addition to Waze, Ford said that other SYNC AppLink integrations will be coming soon, like iHeartRadio.
Ford began expanding its CarPlay support in mid 2016 when it announced its SYNC 3 infotainment system -- which features CarPlay and Android Auto -- would be available across its entire 2017 lineup of cars, SUVs, light trucks, and electric vehicles in the United States. Then in 2017, Ford released a SYNC 3 software update that added CarPlay and Android Auto support to its older 2016 model year vehicles, allowing more users to access Apple apps like Maps, Phone, Music, Messages, and more on their dashboard.