DEARBORN, MI - Drivers hitting the road in a new 2011 Ford, Lincoln, or Mercury vehicles equipped with voice-activated navigation will be able to tap into nearly 2,500 miles of highway and interstate lanes designed to help get them where they need to go quicker and with less hassle.
For 2011 models, Ford will be adding a new high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane routing preference to the navigation menu. The HOV guidance option is one more tool in the award-winning Ford system's traffic-fighting portfolio that already includes traffic reports, incident alerts and re-routing prompts to avoid congestion that are supported through SIRIUS Travel Link. These features helped the Ford system rank highest in the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study.
HOV, or carpool lanes, are popular among commuters in highly-populated states such as California, New York, Texas and Virginia - along with cities such as Washington D.C., Seattle and Atlanta - because they allow vehicles with multiple passengers to use designated lanes for faster travel. In Northern Virginia, for example, a trip on a popular 27-mile stretch of I-95/I-395 where HOV designated lanes exist can cut travel time by half, with some 18,500 people traveling that specific route during peak commuter hours daily.
Drivers traveling with passengers will be able to set the HOV guidance option on the navigation preference menu. Once engaged, the system will map routes using HOV lanes where appropriate when a destination is entered. Users will know that routes contain HOV lanes when they see a white diamond icon illuminated on the map during route selection.
"We've worked hard to ensure our navigation system is not only extremely helpful, but exceptionally intuitive," said Jim Buczkowski, director, Global Electrical and Electronics Systems Engineering. "We've added services and features such as HOV logic and others for 2011 that will help customers access exactly the information they need while they're on the go."
As a bonus, owners of Ford hybrid vehicles, including the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner, could be eligible in certain states for special HOV lane passes that allow single-occupant travel in the carpool lanes, making the combination of hybrid and an HOV-enabled navigation system a highly fuel- and time-efficient form of travel.
In addition to the new HOV logic for 2011, the Ford voice-controlled navigation system will also receive:
- Branded point-of-interest icons - for example, Starbucks, Mobile or Holiday Inn - will appear on mapping screens, and higher-density street labeling, showing more street names per zoom level on navigation maps
- HD RadioTM technology, allowing users to receive free over-the-air digital FM broadcasts where available
- Integration with SYNC Traffic, Directions, & Information app (late availability), including the ability to download destinations sent from a home or work computer from MapQuest
The updated voice-controlled navigation system will be offered on most 2011 Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles, first launching on the new 2011 Ford Mustang.