Waze, a smart route-navigation service available for both Android and Apple smartphone users, is one of the most popular phone applications out there. It already had millions of users when Google purchased the company in 2013, and it has only grown in popularity since then. Now is making Waze even simpler to use by integrating compatibility straight into its Sync 3 infotainment system. Unfortunately, a cord is still required.
Waze optimizes route times by navigating users around traffic and alerts them of accidents and speed traps. Until recently, those who preferred it over Google or Apple Maps were limited to using it on their smartphones. That’s no longer the case. Android Auto changed the game when it added Waze into its plug-in infotainment platform, and SmartDeviceLink has led the open-source charge for mirroring smartphone applications on automotive infotainment systems. The SmartDeviceLink developer announcement opened the door for Ford, which announced at that it is getting in on the fun.
Ford claims it is the first major manufacturer to integrate Waze straight into its own native infotainment system. Once a phone with Waze is plugged in, it will automatically display on the Ford Sync 3–equipped screen with full functionality, including voice commands and touchscreen controls. The feature will become available “in the coming weeks” on all 2018 Ford models, the automaker said, while older Ford vehicles equipped with Sync 3 will be able to receive an over-the-air update that will incorporate the new features and Waze compatibility.
This announcement should come as great news to Apple users. Until now, they could use Waze on their smartphone screens while driving, which admittedly can be distracting and inconvenient. But when it’s a choice between using Waze on your smartphone or using Apple Maps or a native manufacturer navigation app (both of which trail Waze’s timely crowdsourced traffic and routing information) on a bigger infotainment screen, there are a lot of reasons to prefer Waze.
Ford might be the first, but don’t expect it to be alone for long. Toyota also has been rumored to be working toward adding the technology soon, and if Ford and Toyota are doing it, other manufacturers will likely add the feature in the near future. Those two automakers belong to the SmartDeviceLink consortium, as do Mazda, Subaru, and others, and seem like strong contenders to add this functionality.