Microsoft Corp. said yesterday at CES 2008 in Las Vegas it is working with Ford Motor Co. on software that will automatically call 9-1-1 in the event of a car’s airbag deployment.
The new capability will be built atop the Ford Sync software, which uses Microsoft Auto as an operating system. The software is expected to place the call to the local 9-1-1 center, play a pre-recorded message and open the telephone line so that a hands-free call can be established between the vehicle’s occupants and the 9-1-1 respondent.
Microsoft engineers at the Consumer Electronics Show said yesterday that the development of the system was a challenge because it had to be tailored to enable it to operate in a variety of automotive environments.
“Integrating the system in a rich way takes some engineering,” said Velle Kolde, senior product manager for Microsoft Auto. “You’ve got all different types of cars with different electrical architectures and a variety of different kinds of wireless phones.”
The new capability was built atop Microsoft Auto 2.0, Kolde said. It will be employed on new Ford vehicles and will be available to the 30,000 owners of existing Ford Sync systems via a software update.
Ford has an exclusive license to employ the Sync technology atop Microsoft Auto until late 2008.