While many carmakers are starting to roll out support for Apple's CarPlay in-vehicle functionality, an older Siri Eyes Free feature is also designed to help minimize driver distraction by using Siri voice recognition and spoken responses to allow drivers to interact with an iPhone without needing to look at the screen.

Siri Eyes Free is generally activated through a hardware button on the vehicle's steering wheel and is available in a number of makes and models, and Ford today is officially announcing the launch of Eyes Free support for over five million vehicles dating back to the 2011 model year via a software update to Ford's second-generation SYNC infotainment system.

“SYNC, Ford’s entertainment and communications system, was designed to be flexible and updatable, just like other mobile technologies, so our customers are able to get the most out of their smartphones while behind the wheel,” said Sherif Marakby, director, Ford Electronics and Electrical Systems Engineering. “Siri Eyes-Free is another great voice-activated feature that not only adds convenience but helps our customers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.”
Eyes Free support actually went live two months ago with the launch of version 3.8 of the second-generation SYNC software, but Ford has apparently waited until now to make the rollout official as it has worked to apply the update to new cars coming from the factory and make it available to owners of existing vehicles.

Apple also lists Ford as one of its CarPlay partners, but the automaker has yet to announce specific plans for supporting it in upcoming vehicles. The most recent information from Ford indicates CarPlay support will be arriving "relatively soon."


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