Microsoft in the Automotive Infotainment Driver’s Seat

What does a 16,000-pound semi-trailer truck have in common with a 315-horsepower Ford Mustang GT? When you talk, both vehicles listen.


Last week, Ford Motor Co. announced that Ford SYNC, powered by Microsoft, has been installed in 2 million vehicles. This comes only 10 months after Ford delivered the 1 millionth SYNC-equipped car, a 2010 Fusion Hybrid, to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.


We’ve been working with Ford on developing in-vehicle technology since before Ford SYNC hit the roads back in fall 2007. With MyFord Touch and the latest features in Ford SYNC – such as mobile applications, real-time traffic and directions and bringing WiFi capabilities to the car – we celebrate their successes as they continue breaking new ground with in-vehicle infotainment by taking full advantage of the power of Microsoft technology.


From a Ford to a commercial semi-trailer truck, the flexibility of our automotive software platform allows us to shift gears with ease. 


PACCAR – through its two truck divisions, Kenworth and Peterbilt – recently introduced a new system tailored specifically to the commercial trucking industry. We co-developed this system with PACCAR using the Windows Embedded Automotive software platform. It’s an exciting time for both of us, because the Kenworth NavPlus and Peterbilt SmartNav systems mark the first of their kind in the commercial-trucking industry. 


Truck drivers now have simple and convenient access to a mix of business tools. These include vehicle monitoring and diagnostic features, entertainment options such as commercial truck-enhanced navigation and music management, hands-free phone calling. All features are accessed through voice or touch-enabled commands.


Microsoft Silverlight also is used for the first time in the transportation space and takes on the role of helping PACCAR create a rich and engaging user experience on the full-color, high-resolution  7-inch touch screen. Kenworth NavPlus and Peterbilt SmartNav were shown last week at the trucking industry’s premier event, the Mid-America Trucking Show, and are expected to be available in trucks later this year.


As people continue to expect easy access to content in every aspect of their on-the-go lifestyle, it’s fueling a demand for more sophisticated in-car, and now in-truck, infotainment systems. We’re seeing more and more car – and now truck manufacturers – responding by using technology as a competitive differentiator. We believe we and our partners in the automotive industry are at the center of this innovation and are ready to meet this consumer demand.

Director, Product Management, Microsoft Windows Embedded

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