Cool Hunting Rough Cut: MyFord Touch Preview

Our video with Ford's voice recognition engineer reveals sweeping improvements to their MyFord interface

The latest news from Ford furthers the impressive progress they’re making both outside and inside of their cars. We wrote in-depth about the clever MyTouch in-car interface when it was unveiled in January 2010. But when Ford recently announced a major evolution to the way the MyTouch system handles voice recognition, we were fortunate enough to get a hands-on demo with Brigitte Richardson, Ford’s lead engineer for voice control technology and speech systems, and Vlad Sejnoha, the chief scientist at Nuance, whose voice technology powers the SYNC-powered MyTouch system.

The system’s benefit remains the same—it easily controls the car’s climate, entertainment, navigation and phone systems without having to take your hands off of the steering wheel or eyes off of the road. This evolution achieves two important goals that improve how voice recognition works. Though the system’s voice still sounds like a computer, it makes a huge leap toward more natural speech and tone. Secondly, the system’s vocabulary has grown exponentially from 100 to 10,000 first level commands, which makes talking to the interface more natural too. Changing the temperature, for example, can now be achieved by any number of phrases, such as “increase temperature,” “temp warmer” or “make hotter.”

Learn more in our video above with Brigitte as she demonstrates some of the features in a production model of the 2011 Ford Edge.