DEARBORN, Mich., March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- SYNC® 911 Assist™ quickly connects accident victims directly with 911 operators and is now equipped on 2 million vehicles
- With SYNC 911 Assist, there is no need to worry about renewing or paying for any kind of subscription
- There is no middleman or call center between vehicle occupants and those trying to help the victims, unlike competitive systems that start the emergency response process by calling a third-party center instead of actual 911 operators
By the time Paul Bedewi thought to call 911, paramedics were already at the scene of the major accident he was in thanks to Ford SYNC 911 Assist.
Bedewi is one of the 2 million owners of Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) vehicles so far that are equipped with SYNC technology that includes SYNC 911 Assist capability. A SYNC feature available since late 2009, it is the only vehicle-based, no-cost, non-subscription call-for-help system.
"I saw firsthand how SYNC 911 Assist could easily save someone's life," Bedewi said.
The SYNC 911 Assist feature provides additional peace of mind to drivers such as Bedewi, according to Michelle Moody, Ford cross vehicle marketing manager.
"Ford offers SYNC 911 Assist at no cost and with no subscriptions because it's based on SYNC, a customer-focused technology born from our Silicon Valley mind-set of delivering affordable and enormous capability," Moody said. "Ford SYNC 911 Assist is there for the life of the vehicle."
On Nov. 13, 2010, Bedewi's 2010 Ford F-150 Platinum was hit head-on by a car traveling 50 mph at a busy intersection in Ashburn, Va., a bustling suburb near Washington, D.C.
The other car had run a red light and smashed into the left front of his F-150.
Bedewi, 39, said he was somewhat disoriented by the accident but the F-150's SYNC 911 Assist feature continued to work.
"By the time I realized what was going on there was definitely a lot of wasted time," Bedewi said. "I was in shock."
Bedewi said he only had minor injuries, which he attributes in part to the many safety features of the F-150.
He has insisted the rental cars he's been driving since the accident – a Ford Flex and a Ford Edge – have the feature.
Bedewi is not alone in his appreciation for SYNC 911 Assist.
"Since SYNC 911 Assist was launched, we have heard many remarkable stories about how the technology has made a difference for people in their time of need," said David Hatton, global product leader/electrical engineer with Ford Connected Services. "It is very rewarding to work on a product that can provide assistance for millions when needed."
How it works
The Ford SYNC 911 Assist system uses the driver's own mobile phone and runs in the background once the phone is properly paired with SYNC. After the one-time setup, the phone connects with SYNC every time the driver enters the vehicle with his or her phone and the phone is turned on.
Should an accident occur in which an airbag deploys or, in certain vehicles, the emergency fuel pump shutoff is activated, the feature uses SYNC hands-free phone capabilities to connect the driver directly with a local 911 operator through the paired phone. The feature delivers a critical voice message to operators indicating that a vehicle has been in a crash and opens the line for hands-free communication.
If an accident occurs while the phone connected with SYNC is being used for a normal call, SYNC 911 Assist can end that call and dial 911. Also, incoming phone calls and/or texts will not interrupt communication between vehicle occupants and emergency responders.
Should an occupant not be able to communicate with the 911 operator, an introductory message tells the emergency operator that an accident has occurred. Operators rely on the mobile phone carrier to provide location information.
There is no middleman or call center between those involved in the accident and those trying to help the victims, unlike competitive systems that start the emergency response process by calling a third-party center instead of actual 911 operators. Once connected, operators get to hear information firsthand and directly from SYNC and the vehicle occupants.
"By cutting out the middleman, Ford SYNC 911 Assist users don't have to worry about wasted time that could mean the difference between life and death," Hatton said. "Instead, they can drive knowing that they have a system available without having to worry about the status of some kind of emergency service subscription that expires."
The extent to which users have to maintain SYNC 911 Assist is limited to the one-time setup. A prompt occurs the first time a phone is paired with the system that asks if the owner wants to set SYNC 911 Assist on. Once turned on, it remains that way unless the customer decides to turn the system off.
Ford estimates that at least 85 percent of customers pair their phones with SYNC.
SYNC 911 Assist enhancements
Ford has continued to improve SYNC 911 Assist. Starting with selected 2011 model year vehicles, SYNC 911 Assist can provide emergency operators with GPS coordinates that are generated by a vehicle's onboard GPS receiver.
Also, vehicles equipped with optional MyFord Touch™ and MyLincoln Touch™ have a priority emergency screen that contains location information during a 911 Assist call along with quick-touch access to In Case of Emergency (ICE) contacts at the end of a 911 Assist call.
SYNC 911 Assist was introduced to the public at the 2008 International CES. It was first available on 2009 model year vehicles with a dealer-installed upgrade available for 2008 models.
SYNC 911 Assist is available on all SYNC-equipped 2011 vehicles, including Ford Explorer, Taurus, Focus, Flex, Fusion, Escape and F-150, as well as Lincoln MKS, MKZ and MKT.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.
SOURCE Ford Motor Company