Ford First With Assembly Line Wi-Fi Provisioning

Posted by at 9:07 am on August 26, 2010

Ford is the first automaker to use Wi-Fi provisioning on the assembly line to wirelessly deliver SYNC software to vehicles equipped with the new MyFord Touch driver connect technology as they are being built.

The new on-the-assembly-line Wi-Fi capability eliminates the need for building, stocking and storing multiple SYNC hardware modules, thus reducing manufacturing complexity and saving cost.

“Using wireless software installation via Wi-Fi, we can stock just one type of SYNC module powering MyFord Touch and loaded with a basic software package,” explained Sukhwinder Wadhwa, SYNC global platform manager. “We eliminate around 90 unique part numbers, each of which would have to be updated every time a change is made -“ this system really boosts quality control.”

Earlier in the year, Ford announced that the next-generation SYNC system that powers MyFord Touch would feature a built-in Wi-Fi receiver. Now, Ford is further capitalizing on the wireless connection, making communication between the vehicle and the assembly line a reality.

The Oakville, Ontario, assembly line that produces the all-new 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX will be the first to feature wireless access points for software installation. In turn, the Edge and MKX will become the first vehicles to get their infotainment software installed via Wi-Fi while moving down the line.

A global endeavor, Ford is also targeting Chicago Assembly Plant, which is building the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer, for Wi-Fi installation capabilities. Plant locations throughout the world that will support the 2012 Ford Focus launch will soon follow.

 

Wireless proposition

Going wireless for software delivery addresses a number of manufacturing complexity and potential quality issues for Ford as more and more features and services are added to SYNC across multiple vehicle lines and continents.

Where engineers initially proposed unique SYNC hardware modules for each possible vehicle configuration -“ resulting in more than 90 individual part numbers -“ Wi-Fi installation allows those different configurations to be stored as software on a computer server and wirelessly installed on a common, basic SYNC hardware module as the vehicles are built.

Through the Wi-Fi connection, SYNC software options totaling as much as 300 megabytes of data can be installed and configured wirelessly, including:

  • The addition of the SYNC app Traffic, Directions & Information in U.S. markets
  • Market-appropriate languages for voice-activated commands and system prompts
  • Option-specific graphics and icons for navigation, system information and instrument panel screens
  • Unique system color schemes for MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch
  • Units of measurement settings for fuel economy, speed and distance

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