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MAJORITY OF FORD MODELS SOON TO OFFER VOICE CONTROL AND WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY

Cologne, Germany, November 17, 2005 – The new Ford Focus ST is the latest car in the Ford model range to benefit from state-of-the-art voice control of onboard systems and wireless connectivity. Ford of Europe will introduce this technology to the majority of its vehicle lines by early 2006.

Bluetooth © wireless technology for mobile phones is an essential element of this advanced voice control system and it will be offered as an optional extra on the audio systems across the majority of models in the Ford portfolio, from the Ford Fiesta to the Ford Transit.

Voice control and MP3 connectivity

Bluetooth © wireless technology, coupled with voice control of onboard systems, provides a convenient and safe way to operate mobile phones, climate controls and entertainment equipment while driving.

Ford also offers customers the ability to connect portable audio devices via a conventional 3.5 mm audio connector that is available with most Ford audio systems. This enables a wide range of entertainment systems, from portable Mp3 players to mobile phone based entertainment centres, to be connected through the car's factory-fitted audio system.

"Today's MP3-players like the Apple iPod, with up to 60 gigabytes of storage, allow you to create your own library of music with play lists comparable to more than 500 conventional CDs," said Christof Kellerwessel, Ford of Europe's Chief Engineer for Electrical Systems. "The ability to connect such devices to your in-car audio system means instant access to your personal choice of listening material without having to carry around large quantities of CDs."

Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo: Already Bluetooth © capable

Ford Mondeo, Ford Focus and Ford C-MAX have had optional Bluetooth © and voice control systems based on Nokia technology since May 2005 in combination with various Ford audio systems. The new versions of the Ford Fiesta and Ford Fusion have also adopted this technology and they are the first models in their segment to offer this premium technology. Ford's Transit range will offer Bluetooth © connectivity to commercial vehicle customers from early 2006.

For its existing model lines, Ford offers three optional Bluetooth © package variants providing varying levels of operational comfort. They all offer hands-free mobile phone operation and include a factory-mounted digital signal processing microphone specifically designed to optimise voice control. The audio system's onboard speakers are used to achieve the best possible sound quality for all applications. Unlike aftermarket kits, the Ford solution is fully integrated into the vehicle's existing electrical control systems, which allows full use of the familiar remote radio controls. Ford offers systems based on the feature-rich 2nd generation of Bluetooth © technology that supports a large number mobile phones from Nokia and other manufacturers.

The three optional systems offered by Ford are:

  • Ford interface type A: a charging/connectivity cradle for individual mobile phone types, ingoing display of SMS text messages on the radio display.
  • Ford Bluetooth © interface type B: Wireless connection between Ford audio system and a Bluetooth ©- equipped mobile phone. The phone does not have to be plugged into a charging cradle but may remain in the driver's pocket or handbag if desired. Modern mobile phones, with their typically long battery life, will allow use of the phone for several days in combination with the Ford Bluetooth © Set type B without needing to be recharged. In addition, interface type B offers voice control capability for the mobile phone and, depending on the vehicle specification, for climate controls, radio, CD player, CD changer and navigation systems.
  • Ford Bluetooth © interface type C: Provides all the functionality of the type B systems, but includes an additional charging console for certain mobile phones. Type C allows the operation of the mobile phone's address book over the remote radio stalks plus all the voice control functions of type B.

Bluetooth © Technology

Nokia's Bluetooth © technology uses radio waves for the wireless transfer of data between compatible devices in an operating range of up to 10 meters, using a 2.45 gigahertz band. Such wireless interfaces are also used to create connections between phones and PC or laptop computers, phone and PDAs and between mobile phones.

Two Bluetooth © devices, for example a mobile phone and a Ford audio unit have to agree to 'pair', that is to share a communications profile in order to communicate successfully. The devices can from this pairing-process onwards 'see' each other via a start-up protocol whenever they are both switched on and within reach of the Bluetooth operating range of around 10 metres.

Once the simple pairing process has installed one or several mobile phones as partners of a Ford audio system, the system will always reconnect to the one used last each time the system is activated. Any other phones already installed, for example different mobiles for each family member, can be easily reactivated by the simple touch of a button.

Once paired, the connection protocol allows the Bluetooth © units to interact without interference from third parties. Once a Bluetooth © connection has been established, no other party can participate in the in-car communication, allowing discreet operation free from unauthorized interference.

Secure Connections

Nokia's Bluetooth © technology uses a coding technology called 'spread-spectrum frequency hopping' in which paired Bluetooth © devices 'hop' in synch between 79 randomly chosen frequencies 1600 times per second - making eavesdropping on the connection virtually impossible.