Ford says it is gearing up to routinely deliver new features and improvements wirelessly to its connected vehicles via software update technology known as Ford Power-Up.
The first round of software updates began in North America back in March with F-150 and Mustang Mach-E customers. New vehicles equipped with Ford Power-Up can identify customer preferences and also vehicle issues, which Ford engineers can then translate into improvements delivered over the air via the new system.
“Software updates are common across billions of connected devices but not yet for vehicles. Ford Power-Up software updates will change that by quickly bringing it to millions of people,” said Alex Purdy, director of business operations, enterprise connectivity at Ford. “We’ve invested in more seamless technology so updates can happen while you’re sleeping – making your next ride a better experience.”
The software updates are delivered by a newly created, second-generation electrical architecture that is fully networked. They are said to be virtually invisible to customers and are installed in the background while SYNC 4 technology keeps the current vehicle software running. Updates include enhancements of interior features alongside vehicle capability and convenience.
Ford states that since March 2021, 100,000 Ford Power-Up enhancements have been made to 2021 F-150 and Mustang Mach-E vehicles.
Alongside Power-Up, Ford is planning to roll out the automotive industry’s largest Amazon Alexa hands-free system to date, with Ford vehicles to benefit from complimentary connectivity to Alexa for up to three years. Ford says that during 2021 alone, over 700,000 vehicles in the US and Canada will have Alexa embedded, with millions more to follow in the coming years.
Following the new strategic engagement between Amazon and Ford, the pair plan to deliver enhanced features and new commercial services to customers over the next six years. As part of the agreement, they will develop the first custom Alexa system for commercial Ford vehicles and use Alexa AI to help business owners and fleet managers stay in contact.
“We’re excited to work with Amazon to bring powerful new AI-enabled experiences to Ford customers,” said Purdy. “We believe in the power of teaming up with other innovators. Bringing Ford’s vehicle know-how together with Amazon’s technology expertise will deliver in-vehicle capabilities that help our retail customers travel more enjoyably and with ease, while helping our commercial customers operate more profitably.”
The Alexa experience will be delivered via Ford Power-Up, beginning in the autumn for Bronco, Edge, F-150, Mustang Mach-E and Super Duty customers, with SYNC 4 technology in the USA, Canada and other regions in the future.
“Democratizing technology and putting it within reach of millions of customers has been a part of Ford’s DNA dating back to the Model T, and our new collaboration is a continuation of that legacy,” said Ned Curic, vice president of Alexa Automotive. “We can’t wait for Ford customers to experience the best of what Alexa and voice AI can do while on the road – including new features and capabilities that will be delivered seamlessly through future over-the-air software updates. We love the vote of confidence from Ford to deepen our work together and continue making the driving experience more connected, entertaining and productive.”
When combined with FordPass, customers will be able to use Alexa to control vehicle functions like the start/stop engine feature, the locking and unlocking of doors and to check vehicle range or tire pressures from inside their homes.