US: Ford to launch MyFord Touch upgrade for 2013 models

By Mike Chiswell | 15 December 2011

MyFord Touch software upgrade is coming for 2013 models - and to owners of existing MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles - and the employee beta test is part of a new, innovative approach to ensure a high-quality launch of the improved system.

"Employees are a great source for quick feedback, and the best part is that they are eager to help," said John Schneider, chief engineer, Infotainment, Ford Electronics and Electrical Systems Engineering. "Employees who have been MyFord Touch users since it was first launched will test the new upgrade on employee lease vehicles so they can provide us real-world feedback, helping us polish the final product before it goes to our customers."

The upgraded system will launch with 2013 models of the new Ford Escape, Taurus and Flex, and will be applied to existing vehicles equipped with MyFord Touch including Ford Explorer, Edge and Focus.

The new MyFord Touch upgrade is designed to make the system faster, simpler and easier to use.

Ford designers and engineers want to ensure the changes are ready for customers before issuing the software into production. Employee participants should begin receiving a USB flash drive containing the software upgrade later this week. The beta test is scheduled to last approximately a month.

Touch screens will look new, while featuring simpler graphics and controls that are easier to use. Improvements make the button reaction and screen transition times feel twice as fast as the current system.

Other enhancements include better phone compatibility, support for tablet computers and Audible.com audiobooks, improved navigation maps and destination entry. Voice recognition also has been enhanced - an important fact since Ford research indicates nearly 80% of owners use voice commands to operate their systems.

Since the upgrade strictly involves software, no vehicle hardware maintenance is required. Instead, a single USB flash drive loaded with the necessary software to complete the upgrade will be sent to testers.