Ford unveils text driving system

Texting while driving is, of course, illegal and stupid, and that’s why Ford has unveiled its latest piece of technology.

Part of the company’s SYNC in-car communication application, its new text-to-speech service reads out a driver’s text messages while the car is on the move.

To help advertise the usefulness of the service, Ford commissioned some market research and found that one third of drivers admit to texting behind the wheel. Despite that, 95 percent of those surveyed agreed it was dangerous.

Due to come with the new B-Max MPV first, before being added to the SYNC systems in the Focus and Kuga, it only works with BlackBerry phones at the moment, though Ford is looking to make other brands compatible.

Drivers are able to respond to text messages using voice recognition, although not to spell out unique replies – they’re given a choice of ten set text templates.

Ford’s Christof Kellerwessel said: “Text messages can be a distraction for drivers, so the benefit of a system that can read messages aloud from compatible smartphones is obvious.”

Phone use while driving is on the up, and has recently been slammed by safety groups including Brake, whose recent research found that 44 percent of young drivers say they text behind the wheel.

Ford’s system will at least go some way to mitigating the dangers, though the best advice is simply to forget about your phone while driving. When was the last time you received a truly urgent text message?

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