Ford began testing last week a new feature called Operator Assist that includes live operators to help drivers find a business or get directions.
The Operator Assist feature connects drivers with an operator if they have trouble getting directions electronically after three attempts. The operators are from MyAssist, a supplier in Stevens Point, Wis.
This fall, Ford will decide wither to roll out the service, which would be free for the first 3 years and would cost $60 a year, thereafter, reports the Detroit Free Press.
“Our customers asked for additional assistance in situations where their voice request was not understood,” said David Gersabeck, product manager for Sync Services.
Voice recognition was one of the features found lacking in new Fords in a recent J.D. Power and Associates study.
Ford has not offered live operator assistance up to this point, although it provides voice activated access to the cloud for information on traffic, news, weather, sports and other data.
Obviously, if Ford rolls out Operator Assist, it would compete more directly with OnStar, which has 6 million users.
Presently about 70 percent of the calls to Sync are seeking a business search or location, said AutoWeek.–Bill D.