Ford B-MAX Global Mobile Technology Award Winner

In Ford by Jonathan Humphrey

A new Ford technology being introduced on the all-new B-MAX to assist occupants in making a 999 call to emergency services in the event of a crash has won a prestigious technology award.

Ford’s Emergency Assistance alerts local emergency services operators, in the correct local language based on GPS coordinates from the vehicle, after an accident. It is the most advanced system of its type and forms a key part of Ford’s voice-activated in-car connectivity system SYNC, which makes its European debut in the all-new B-MAX.

Emergency Assistance won the “Best Mobile Innovation for Automotive, Transport or Utilities” category today at the 2012 Global Mobile Awards, Barcelona. The achievement crowned a historic Mobile World Congress visit for Ford, after B-MAX became the first car to debut at the show and Bill Ford, Ford Motor Company executive chairman, became the first automotive industry leader to deliver a keynote speech.

“Ford is delighted to see the potentially life-saving benefits of SYNC with Emergency Assistance recognised by international communications technology experts,” said Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe. “Emergency Assistance makes full use of mobile communications technology to deliver an extremely valuable service to Ford customers, free-of charge for the lifetime of their vehicle.”

The activation of an airbag or the vehicle’s emergency fuel pump shut-off prompts the vehicle to initiate an emergency call, using an introductory message, through the occupant’s Bluetooth connected mobile phone.

The system also identifies the accident location co-ordinates using the on-board GPS unit, map and mobile network information, and saves crucial seconds by placing a call directly to emergency service operators rather than first routing through a third party call centre.

During the development of the Emergency Assistance feature in the Ford B-MAX the company worked with the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), gaining valuable input into the system design. The EENA aims to ensure a consistently high level of response to 999 emergency number calls across Europe.

“We are pleased that Ford has consulted with the EENA and European emergency call centres in the development of the Emergency Assistance feature,” said Gary Machado, EENA executive director. “We are confident that solutions enabling vehicles to be connected to emergency call centres will contribute to saving lives in Europe.”

Customers will be provided with Emergency Assistance free-of-charge as part of the customer-upgradeable SYNC platform. The SYNC system, of which Emergency Assistance is just one part, is already found on more than 4,000,000 cars in the U.S. and makes its first European appearance on Ford B-MAX.  SYNC will also read aloud incoming SMS text messages from compatible mobile phones. It can also be used with a variety of digital music players, including iPod and USB flash drives. The system automatically updates phonebook entries, while audio files can be browsed by genre, artist, album, song and playlist using simple voice commands. The USB port also enables the implementation of software upgrades for future enhancements and features.

The production-ready Ford B-MAX will make its automotive show debut at next week’s 2012 Geneva Motor Show and go on sale in the UK this September.