Ford is in the beta testing phase of its Operator Assist feature it will be adding to its Sync in-car infotainment and connectivity system. The Operator Assist feature will allow Ford customers to speak to a live person instead of the voice-activated automated system if they so desire.

Operator Assist is for customers who "asked for additional assistance in situations where their voice request was not understood," said David Gersabeck, product manager, SYNC Services, said in a statement announcing the feature. "If you want the most reliable user experience, enabling alternative methods for customers to access information will increase success."

Currently Ford's Sync Services offers customers on-demand, voice activated access to traffic, news, sports, weather, horoscopes, stock quotes, and movie listings as well as business searches and turn-by-turn directions. Operator Assist will be available for business searches and directions which Ford says make up 70 percent of all calls to Sync Services.

Customers will be able to choose among having turn-by-turn directions sent to the car, a text message with the business name, address and phone number or to be connected directly to the business through a phone call.

Ford claims no additional software or hardware is needed for Operator Assist because it will use existing vehicle sensors and GPS technology. During the beta test trial phase Operator Assist is being offered free to current Sync users. No word yet when it will be a fully-released.

Source: Ford