Ford, the auto manufacturer whose vehicles include Microsoft’s SYNC technology, is offering two new features that aim to address the problem of distracted driving. First up: a do-not-disturb button that will block incoming text messages and phone calls from the paired Bluetooth phone, but will still allow drivers to make voice-assisted outgoing calls or connect to emergency assistance via the updated 911 Assist functionality. Calls go directly to voicemail and texts are saved for later viewing. Also when in this mode, drivers are prevented from typing an address into the nav system and will simplify other actions requiring scrolling.
The second new feature is the implementation of Bluetooth Message Access Profile (MAP) into SYNC. MAP allows smartphone devices, in this case Blackberry phones, to connect with SYNC so that the system can read back incoming messages.
The 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX will be the first to offer the new technology. All 2011 model vehicles with MyFord or MyLincoln Touch will also get this feature later on.