Ford's Breadcrumbs feature helps off-roaders find their way home

Ronan Glon

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Ford's software engineers drew inspiration from a 207-year old German fairy tale to create a feature named Breadcrumbs that helps adventurers find their way home far off the beaten path. The Ranger inaugurates this function in the United States, but it will also be available in other trucks.

Published in 1812, "Hansel and Gretel" tells the story of two young kids who leave pebbles and breadcrumbs behind to find their way home. Ford's navigation system puts a digital spin on the tale by creating one virtual pin per second and displaying them all as blue dots on the map. Off-roaders can use this feature to see the exact path they took, and follow it back to the asphalt if needed. Breadcrumbs isn't on all the time; users need to enable it manually via a settings menu.

This technology is helpful, because trails don't always appear on the navigation system, or sometimes show up incomplete. That's assuming the Ranger followed one to begin with. And, even if you know where you're going and have a decent idea of how to make it home, you could send friends a picture of the Breadcrumbs screen to tell them exactly how to reach a campsite. It's more effective than firing off a series of text messages with instructions like "turn slight left when you see a cactus."

The Ranger Raptor sold overseas already offers the Breadcrumbs feature. In America, it's available on XLT and Lariat models equipped with SYNC 3 and navigation. Both trim levels come standard with the touchscreen-based infotainment system, but buyers need to select the optional Technology Package to unlock navigation. It's priced at $995 for the XLT, and $895 for the Lariat.

Ford's announcement noted other trucks are available with Breadcrumbs, though it didn't specify which models. Similarly, the release makes no mention of the Expedition, or of crossovers like the Escape. We've reached out to the company, and we'll update this story if we learn more.

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