Ford Mustang Learned How To Read Chinese Handwriting, Speak Mandarin


Have you ever wondered how drivers in non-English speaking countries input their destination into their cars’ navigation systems? Well, until recently, the answer was not easily.

Ford announced Thursday it’s adding an improved version of its Sync 3 infotainment system for the Chinese market on the 2017 Mustang. The new software not only can recognize handwritten Chinese characters, but also understand Mandarin Chinese voice commands.

In addition, Sync 3 doesn’t just recognize what Chinese motorists are saying, it understands what they mean. That’s impressive because, as anybody who’s used Google Translate can attest to, things usually don’t have the same meaning when you translate them literally.

“The Chinese version of Sync 3 is far more than just a translation of a global technology,” Fisher Xu, Sync supervisor for Ford Asia Pacific, said in a press release. “It’s really been localized to respond to a Chinese driver’s needs with a local point of view, from the voice commands that understand our accents and our habits, to the way we structure our statements.

“For instance, when you talk to a friend in China and they ask where you are, they’re really looking for a building name or a point of interest, not a street number. That’s probably different to other parts of the world, and Sync 3 is smart enough to know this local preference, seamlessly.”

Ford says the new version of Sync can identify more than 2,500 commonly used Chinese characters, and that’s a big time-saver for its customers. Previously, owners had to write the phonetic spelling of Chinese words using the alphabet, and select from a list of various characters that have similar pronunciations.

The system made its debut on the Mustang because it’s China’s most popular sports coupe — yes, people outside the U.S. love the pony car too — but also is available on other models sold in China, such as the Focus, Taurus Limited Edition, Edge, Explorer and Kuga.

Thumbnail photo via Ford 

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