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Ford and Computer History Museum SYNC Up

The first-generation in-vehicle connectivity system finds home in technology museum's permanent collection.

Bill Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford and chairman of Ford Motor Company, will make several major announcements Monday in Silicon Valley.

Ford will formally open the company's which will support its technology innovation research. He'll also help induct, SYNC, the company's in-car connectivity system into the 's permanent collection and participate in CHM's "Revolutionaries" lecture series.

The motor-city company—and development partner —hope to remain competitive in an industry where vehicular transportation increasingly experiments with Internet, mobile and electrical technologies, like with Apple's iPod integration and Google's driveless-car.

"We have been innovating for more than a century at Ford, but we acknowledge we don’t have a monopoly on creativity," said Ford. "Our new office will complement our existing research efforts by allowing us to tap into the region that has been driving consumer technology forward in recent decades."

Part of Ford's Silicon Valley research will include further customization of the vehicle as a mobile platform, in what appears to be the development of the next-generation SYNC system. In a collaboration with New York-based Bug Labs, Ford plans to create open-source software applications and hardware for its cars.

"We want Silicon Valley to view Ford as a platform that is open, accessible and ready for their innovative ideas and technologies," said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. "We are looking for unexpected solutions for the future, and we believe Silicon Valley is the right place to round out our global research organization."

More than 4 million Ford vehicles are already on the road with SYNC, which debut in 2008 Focus and provides voice control for mobile phones and digital music players connected via Bluetooth or USB. Ford co-developed the system with Microsoft using the Windows Embedded Automotive platform.

"Having SYNC inducted into the Computer History Museum’s collection is a testament to the system’s groundbreaking innovation and to all of the hard work of our engineers, both in Dearborn and Redmond, to deliver a product that continues to meet consumers’ evolving needs and exceed expectations,” said Kevin Dallas, general manager Windows Embedded at Microsoft.

Ford expects its users to grow to more than 9 million by 2015 as SYNC goes global.

"As cars have transformed into mobile platforms for consumers’ communication and entertainment needs, the intersection of automotive and computing developments is becoming an increasingly important area for the museum to consider," said Alex Bochannek, curator and senior manager of the Computer History Museum.

"Ford Motor Company’s collaboration with Microsoft on SYNC technology is an example of this changing landscape."

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