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CES 2015: Ford in the family way

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Ford will use the 2015 International CES in Las Vegas this week to demonstrate how a popular family locator app can be leveraged for safety on the road.

Ford will be the first automaker to offer in-car use of the popular family locator app Life360 with Drive Mode – a capability that helps drivers stay focused on the road by alerting their family and friends not to text when they are driving.

Responsible driving habits are top priorities at Ford Motor Company, and we are pleased to be working with Life360 to help reduce driver distractions,” said Julius Marchwicki, Ford Connected Services Product manager. “With the integration of Life360 Drive Mode, we are helping to keep drivers’ attention on the road by letting their loved ones know that they are behind the wheel, encouraging family members and friends to hold off on sending texts.

Life360 is a free smartphone app that helps family members and close friends stay in touch throughout the day. Users can see where their circle of family and friends are on a private map, stay connected through one-to-one or group messages, and get help in an emergency. Life360 launched in 2008, and there are now 48 million families worldwide using the app. It has now been retooled to include Drive Mode for Ford SYNC AppLink-equipped vehicles.

The AppLink-enabled Life360 app goes to work when the driver connects his or her smartphone to Ford SYNC via Bluetooth. The connection tells the app when the smartphone is in the car, which prompts the Drive Mode feature to send a message to everyone in the driver’s Life360 circle suggesting they not text the driver. A follow-up message is sent once the driver arrives at his or her destination and turns off the car.

Drivers can also check the latest location of family members through the SYNC display or with voice commands. By saying, “Mom’s location,” or asking “Where is Dave?” the system pinpoints the person’s location on a map and offers a location address.

Ford and Life360 will demonstrate the app at the 2015 International CES running in Las Vegas from January 6 to 9. Drive Mode will be available initially for Android phones by spring.

We are thrilled to be working with Ford to take on such an important issue and help reduce texting and driving,” said Chris Hulls, co-founder and CEO, Life360. “Keeping families connected is one of our core tenets, and we’re proud our technology can also help play a key role in promoting distraction-free driving.

Ford SYNC – the auto industry’s first system to offer affordable voice-activated control of mobile phones – allows drivers to make and receive calls, and operate other features hands-free using voice commands.

Ford SYNC AppLink allows customers to connect their smartphone to their vehicle and control their compatible apps using voice commands or buttons on the vehicle display. With the launch of SYNC 3, Ford’s next-generation communications and entertainment system, AppLink will automatically discover and load the Life360 app onto the in-vehicle screen.

SYNC is already on the road in more than 10 million vehicles worldwide.

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