If you’re attending CES next week (or plan on reading all the coverage the throngs of reporters will be churning out), family-centered, location-oriented social network Life360 will be showing off its upcoming integration with Ford SYNC AppLink. The new feature, called Drive Mode, will be available for Android phones sometime in 2015’s second quarter, with an iOS version following later in the year.
Drive Mode is fairly simple and easy to use. When the driver gets in their car, the Life360 app immediately pairs with Ford SYNC through Bluetooth and pulls up the app on the phone and on the car’s dashboard. Drive Mode will then send a notification to the driver’s family members letting them know their loved one is now driving and shouldn’t be texting them, as well as notifying when they’ve stopped.
“It sounds like a dull feature, but it’s a really helpful feature,” Life360 founder and chief executive Chris Hulls said in an interview with VentureBeat, underscoring how unsafe driving and texting can be.
It also lets family members track the car on a map via the Life360 app — which has a bit of a creep factor, especially for teens with overbearing parents, but nevertheless is a useful feature.
Life360, which launched in 2008, now has more than 48 million families using its app, the company told VentureBeat. Hulls hopes the 10 million Ford SYNC-enabled cars will be a good place to start hacking at the texting-on-the-road problem, which is really the core of the Drive Mode feature.
Life360 has been integrating with other connected devices and products recently, including Nest and BMW. The BMW integration, however, only enables drivers to set their navigation system to take them to a family member’s location and doesn’t include the new Drive Mode feature.
Life360 was founded in 2008 and is based in San Francisco, Calif. The company has raised $76.1 million in funding to date.