Ford's been keeping itself busy on the navigation front, and while you may have noticed that 2010 just began a few weeks ago (on the Gregorian calendar, anyway), 2011 model year vehicles are already on the minds of those in Dearborn. 2011 models with voice-activated navigation systems will be getting an update that brings along HOV logic, helping users who travel with a buddy to get from point A to point B more hastily if carpool lanes are nearby. Of course, only 2,500 miles of those blanket America, so a few other updates might be intriguing to those of you who are sane enough to live outside of the rat race. Branded POI icons, higher density street labeling and HD Radio will come standard on voice-controlled NAV systems, and potentially most interesting is the notion that "integration with SYNC Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI) app -- enabling new features like the ability to download destinations sent from a home or work computer from Mapquest" -- will hit later on in the year. Full release is after the break.


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Ford adds carpool lane routing to navigation so customers can enjoy more travel with less hassle

· Ford adds High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane guidance to the award-winning voice-activated navigation installed on 2011 models

· Customers will be able to utilize the 2,500-plus miles of carpool routes scattered within some of the most-congested major metropolitan areas in North America

· Additional navigation system updates for 2011 include HD radio technology, improved street data displays and branded POI icons on the map display for better map orientation


Dearborn, Mich., Feb. 25, 2010 – Customers hitting the road in a new 2011 Ford, Lincoln or Mercury equipped with voice-controlled navigation will be able to tap into nearly 2,500 miles of highway and interstate lanes designed to help get them where they need to go quicker and with less hassle.

For 2011 models, Ford will be adding a new high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane routing preference to the navigation menu. The HOV guidance option is just another tool in the award-winning Ford system's traffic-fighting portfolio that already includes traffic reports, incident alerts and re-routing prompts to avoid congestion that are supported through SIRIUS Travel Link. These features helped the Ford system rank highest in the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study.

HOV or carpool lanes are popular among commuters in highly populated states such as California, New York, Texas and Virginia – along with cities such as Washington D.C., Seattle and Atlanta – because they allow vehicles with multiple passengers to use designated lanes for faster travel. In Northern Virginia, for example, a trip on a popular 27-mile stretch of I-95/I-395 where HOV designated lanes exist can cut travel time by half, with some 18,500 people traveling that specific route during peak commuter hours daily.

Drivers traveling with passengers will be able to set the HOV guidance option on the navigation preference menu. Once engaged, the system will map routes using HOV lanes where appropriate when a destination is entered. Users will know that routes contain HOV lanes when they see a white diamond icon illuminated on the map during route selection.

"We've worked so hard to make sure our navigation system is not only extremely helpful, but exceptionally intuitive," said Jim Buczkowski, director, Global Electrical and Electronics Systems Engineering for Ford Motor Company. "We have added services and features such as HOV logic and others for 2011 that will help our customers access exactly the information they need while they're on the go."

As a bonus, owners of Ford hybrids, including the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner, could be eligible in certain states for special HOV lane passes that allow single-occupant travel in the carpool lanes, making the combination of hybrid and an HOV-enabled navigation system a highly fuel- and time-efficient form of travel.



More upgrades

In addition to the new HOV logic for 2011, the Ford voice-controlled navigation system will also receive:

· Branded point-of-interest icons on mapping screens, and higher-density street labeling, showing more street names per zoom level on navigation maps

· HD Radio technology, allowing users to receive free over-the-air digital FM broadcasts where available

· Integration with SYNC Traffic, Directions, & Information app, enabling new features like the ability to download destinations sent from a home or work computer from Mapquest (late availability).

The updated voice-controlled navigation system will be offered on most 2011 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles, first launching on the new 2011 Ford Mustang.