Ford announced on Wednesday at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show that it is bringing iHeartRadio to its vehicle lineup, allowing drivers to access the popular radio service via voice commands.
Ford will be the first auto company to offer cars access to iHeartRadio, featuring more than 800 of the top broadcast and digital-only stations in the U.S.
By using Ford SYNC AppLink – which gives drivers hands-free voice control capability of smartphone apps – users will be able to listen to various radio stations by accessing steering wheel-mounted controls or SYNC’s voice commands. The driver can create a custom station, stop and start a song playing on a local iHeartRadio station and find traffic reports based on location via the phone’s GPS system.
For example, drivers can say “genre,” “city” or “personality” to search by type of GPS, location of station or host. The app also connects with Facebook Timeline, which allows users to share music with friends.
More drivers are now streaming radio from their mobile phones. According to a 2011 study from Arbitron & Edison, the number of drivers using their cell phones to listen to Internet radio in their vehicles has increased 5% in the past year, while time spent listening to online radio has jumped 49% in three years.
iHeart Radio is one of several apps for SYNC AppLink that the auto maker launched at this year’s tech event, including a voice-controlled NPR app. SYNC AppLink is now available in 10 Ford vehicles for the 2012 model year. The iHeart Radio app with SYNC capabilities is already available for download from the iTunes App Store, BlackBerry App World and it’s coming soon to the Android Market.
Are you looking forward to voice-controlled apps in vehicles? Do you think hands-free voice commands will help make technology in cars safer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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