Ford Launches Voice-activated App Drive

Ford has launched an App Developer Programme at CES to encourage the creation of voice-controlled apps for its cars. Using Ford’s SYNC connectivity tech and its AppLink interface, developers will be able to create apps that can be used while driving, without the need to take hands of the wheel.

Ford is offering its SDK, along with technical support and access to a developer community for companies entering the programme. Michigan-based jacAPPS is the recommended app development house.

The programme will launch across Europe and Asia later this year, and Ford has announced a collaboration with Sina, developers of China’s Weibo social network.

“Thanks to our partner Microsoft and their expertise, we have turned the car into a development platform with extensive opportunities to continue to add value through new features delivered at the speed consumers now expect,” said Doug VanDagens, global director of Ford Connected Services. “With more than 1 billion smartphones now in service around the world, we expect mobile connectivity will continue to grow in importance.”

Users can already download news, music and navigation apps, with partners including the Wall Street Journal and Pandora. Ford is the first automotive company to open its API up to developers.