And today we’re proud to share more news tied to our progress in all five areas of Ford Smart Mobility. So let’s start with Connectivity.
Ford SYNC is the industry’s most popular in-vehicle entertainment and communication system, and right now there are more than 15 million SYNC equipped vehicles on the road globally. And by 2020, we expect more than 43 million vehicles will be on the road with SYNC, helping drivers stay connected on the move while keeping their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
And today we’re announcing that our third-generation SYNC — SYNC 3 — is coming to Europe this year. It’s going to be debuting on Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy and of course the new Kuga. We’re also announcing that SYNC 3 will be compatible with both Android Auto and Apple Carplay giving users access to even more functionality via voice control or their touch screen.
SYNC 3 is more intuitive, it’s easier to use and even quicker than the previous generation. It also has an all new graphical interface that smartphone users will find familiar and can be updated over the air through a Wi-fi connection. SYNC 3 also features five new languages supporting a broad spectrum of European markets and more conversational speech recognition.
So just push a button and say “I need coffee” or “I need petrol” or “I need to park” and SYNC 3 will find the places that you need to go.
Today we’re also announcing at the same time five new AppLink partners in Europe — MyBoxMan, HearMeOut, AccuWeather, Cadena Ser and Los 40. And our AppLink platform and supporting developer program literally allows developers to develop apps directly for SYNC 3 giving our customers easy access to their services, information and entertainment. In fact, one of the partners – MyBoxMan – traces its origins to a hackathon that we organized just a few months ago at Web Summit in Dublin and MyBoxMan is a social shipping act – think about Uber for packages or for deliveries. So if you’re making a journey you can check the weather and you can check whether anyone in your area needs to get a package from where you are to where you’re going and in process, well, you get to make a little money.
Now let’s talk about Mobility. We’re seeing great results from our on-demand car sharing service that we launched in London last year which we call GoDrive. GoDrive is growing fast because of the flexibility it provides customers with a one-way trip availability, guaranteed parking and pay per minute pricing as opposed to the “by the hour” pricing of other services and we’ve expanded the program to 25 hubs across London, including major transport centers such as Waterloo Station and City Airport.
And as we’ve grown, we’ve gained important insights about what customers want in such a service. For example, almost half of GoDrive customers don’t own or have access to a car, which means that they don’t currently engage with Ford or buy our vehicles, and that means that GoDrive is bringing new people to Ford. Also, over 60% of GoDrive customers have chosen an electric vehicle at least once. And those who have, well, 97% of them say that they would use an electric vehicle again. And with such great success that we’re having with GoDrive, we’re now expanding our efforts to parking.
And today we’re announcing GoPark which is a new pilot program to make parking in cities easier and importantly less stressful for drivers. GoPark is a predictive parking system that can actually direct customers to a place where they’re most likely to find an open parking spot and a group of residents from the borough of Islington in the UK have volunteered to take part in the pilot. And with their permission we are equipping their vehicles with plug-in devices to collect data as they come and go from parking spaces in a defined area and by observing patterns and then combining that data with available city data and traffic and parking conditions, we’ll be able actually to predict available parking spots based on the time of day and location.
And the best part? Well, GoPark is open to everyone and you don’t have to be a Ford owner to participate in this.
Now let’s turn to autonomous vehicles, a subject of much discussion in our industry lately. And at Ford, we’ve been focused on autonomous vehicles for more than a decade and this year we’ll have the largest autonomous test fleet among all automakers. We have vehicles on the road today in Michigan and Arizona and we begin testing this year in California and we will be expanding even further in the future.
Now Ford’s autonomous vehicle program goal is delivering the Society of Automotive Engineers’ level 4 capability which is full autonomy in defined environments. This is the level that many of the technology companies are going for and this takes the driver completely out of the loop, which ultimately leads to level 5 which, is full autonomy in any location in any weather condition. And when the first Ford autonomous vehicle comes out it will be an autonomous vehicle designed to serve millions of customers, not just for those who buy luxury vehicles.
At the same time we’re also absolutely committed to serving millions of customers today with automated technology that can assist them in becoming better drivers. We already are a leader with semi autonomous and driver assist technologies. So on our vehicles today you can steer into a parallel or perpendicular parking spot, you can remain in your lane by alerting you or providing steering assistance, maintain a set speed and distance between vehicles on the highway, even in stop-and-go traffic and apply brakes if a collision is imminent.