AppLink Offers Hands-Free Twitter Technology To Drivers

AppLink Offers Hands-Free Twitter Technology To Drivers

Motorists will soon be able to get tweets on the go with Ford’s new hands-free technology. Beginning with select 2011 models, drivers will be able to have their Tweets read aloud to them through AppLink, a downloadable software first introduced by Ford in April.

The AppLink software uses voice recognition to run applications on iPhones and BlackBerries.  It is part of Ford’s hand-free SYNC system, which can also read out incoming text messages and follow voice commands to select songs on the car’s MP3 player.  For the Twitter follower, AppLink can read updated tweets out loud to the driver, but does not enable drivers to respond.

The creation of AppLink followed a 2009 study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute that focused on the dangers of driver inattention. “Making SYNC even more intuitive and easier to use will encourage more drivers to take advantage of its hands-free capabilities, helping them keep their focus on driving,” said Mark Fields, the Executive Vice President of Ford Motor Company.

Still, some safety officials question the effect of hands-free access to Twitter and other forms of communication while driving.

According to MSNBC, John Franklin, a representative from the Royal Auto Club (the UK’s equivalent to the AAA), admitted, “It’s debatable whether this type of technology will help as it’s likely to increase the distractions available to the driver.”

One particular concern with the Twitter feature of AppLink is that since it only allows drivers to listen to Twitter updates, drivers might be all the more tempted to turn to mobile devices to tweet back.

For now, safety responsibility tends to rest more on the driver.  As car companies continue to incorporate more hands-free technology into new models, drivers are held responsible for choosing how to use such options safely.

Ford AppLink

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