Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Ford/Microsoft Sync: Is 'Information Highway' Safe?

This morning I'm in Seattle for the roll out Ford's Sync: a software program the automaker developed with Microsoft that will allow you to send and receive text messages through your car while you are driving. In many ways, it's the first true step toward making our cars and trucks internet portals. And I have mixed feelings about it.


Here's how it works(video): on 12 of Ford's 2008 models and its entire 2009 line-up, you plug your phone into a jack in the car or truck. Then, whenever someone sends you a text message, the car announces it and reads the message to you. If you want, you can then send one of 15 canned responses, simply by touching a button on the steering wheel. That's the beauty of Sync. It's hands-free texting.

When I have tried Sync, it's worked flawlessly, and I have to say, it's nice having text messages read while my hands are on the steering wheel.

So what's my issue with Sync? It brings yet another potential distraction into the car. Yes, it's hands free, and it's a better option than having someone text a message with their fingers while steering their car with their knees or forearms.

Still, this is the start of us bringing the internet into the car. How long before we see cars that allow us to Google questions, etc.? Is this road we're heading down a safe one? Just how connected do you need to be when you are driving.

Whatever you think, it doesn't matter. The future is here, we're merging the real highway with the information super highway.

Questions?  Comments?