Ford Developer Blog

Look back on MWC Barcelona 2019: New technologies, new directions

Posted on Monday, March 11, 2019 by Ford Dev Team

Ford Dev Team Europe pictured at MWC Barcelona, February 25-28, 2019. (Left-right) Peter Geffers, Andreas Brockers, Daniela Rauhut, Scott Lyons, Don Butler, Borbala Nagy, Silvio De Carvalho and Markus Pazina.
Ford Dev Team Europe pictured at MWC Barcelona, February 25-28, 2019. (Left-right) Peter Geffers, Andreas Brockers, Daniela Rauhut, Scott Lyons, Don Butler, Borbala Nagy, Silvio De Carvalho and Markus Pazina.

With over 109,000 visitors from over 198 countries MWC Barcelona (February 25–28) was yet another successful event for the Ford Dev Team which saw them showcasing the latest innovations around SDL technology.

Two new AppLinkTM integrated navigation apps were revealed at the event: Sygic Truck Navigation and what3words.

Sygic Truck Navigation brings features tailored for commercial vehicles to an in-dashboard display, helping vans avoid hazards such as narrow roads or low bridges.

With Sygic, fully offline 3D mapping aids navigation, even in rural areas without mobile coverage. The app is also dimension-aware, meaning commercial vehicles—such as a high-roof Ford Transit van towing a trailer—won’t find themselves in nasty situations with low clearances.

Sygic Truck Navigation also includes configurations for camper vans and motorhomes, providing optimised routing, as well as custom points of interest like camping areas.

what3words, the second of the two apps announced, helps drivers quickly and accurately find places with just three words.

How? what3words has divided the entire planet into three metre squares and, employing a unique algorithm, has given each its own simple three word address.

And with the new SYNC 3 AppLink integration, Ford drivers with the what3words iOS or Android app will be able to navigate confidently to a precise location—whether that’s a specific entrance on an industrial estate or a meeting spot for a mountain bike ride in the country—just by saying the three word address as a voice command.

Building on a comprehensive suite of in-vehicle apps for the Ford SYNC 3 infotainment platform, both Sygic and what3words will give Ford owners confidence that they will arrive precisely where they want to—while taking the most appropriate route for their type of vehicle.

AppLink is Ford’s smartphone linking technology which is powered by the open source SDL platform that allows automakers to provide highly integrated connected experiences. It offers app developers new and exciting ways to connect with consumer vehicles, and now via SDL Pro, commercial vehicles too.

SDL Pro is a new use of the SDL technology, it enables commercial vehicles and fleet companies to display their application experiences either through projection mode or one of the many HMI templates that take advantage of infotainment screens, SYNC in Ford’s case.

The SDL Pro ecosystem will create possibilities to make use of applications for business and productivity experiences, as well as navigation experiences targeting commercial vehicles and non-passenger retail vehicles.

But it wasn’t all about commercial vehicles at MWCB.

The Dev Team also talked about their working relationships with their development partners. One such partner highlighted at the show was podcast app makers ACast. Attendees were walked through the startup’s experience with bringing their app into the car. If you don’t know ACast, they attended our MakeItDriveable event in October, 2018. By January 2019, they had submitted their app to Ford, and were proud to launch it to the world at MWCB.

Last but not least, it was also revealed at MWCB that TIDAL, the artist-owned music streaming service with HiFi audio capabilities, is coming to Ford vehicles in Europe. Bringing fans and music closer together through 60 million songs in the highest audio quality available, TIDAL also features engaging podcasts, curated playlists and exclusive livestreamed concerts.

Tidal, of course, joins several other apps already in the SYNC 3 AppLink ecosystem, including popular community based traffic and navigation app, Waze; Cisco Webex, which enables drivers to safely join in and participate in meetings on the go with voice commands; and Radioplayer, which lets drivers listen live or on demand to tens of thousands of programmes and podcasts.

Sygic Truck Navigation will be available globally from March 2019. Requires SYNC 3 software, version 2.3 or higher. Sygic Truck will be available for Android in March and for iOS shortly afterwards.

** what3words is available for text and voice input from now in the following markets: U.K. & Ireland (in English), Germany (in German), Spain (in Spanish), U.S. (in English & Spanish), Mexico (in Spanish) with more languages and markets to follow later in the year. App is available for free for iOS and Android. Requires an embedded navigation system and any version of SYNC 3 software.

*** TIDAL is currently available via AppLink in Europe (English, iOS only) in: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, UK. Requires any version of SYNC 3 software. HiFi membership required for high-fidelity sound quality.