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Ford Motor Company has found a way to utilize Wi-Fi beyond turning its cars into roving hotspots -- the company said Thursday that it is using Wi-Fi provisioning on assembly lines to install its SYNC software to eliminate the need to build, stock and store multiple SYNC hardware modules. The approach, Ford said, reduces manufacturing complexity and cost.
The SYNC voice recognition system, which can recognize more than 10,000 commands, operates with Ford's Wi-Fi enabled MyFord Touch-equipment vehicles. The MyTouch system can be installed in vehicles as they are being built.
"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," said Sukhwinder Wadhwa, SYNC global platform manager, in a statement. "We eliminate about 90 unique part numbers, each of which would have to be updated every time a change is made - this system really boosts quality control."
Ford said the installation process has been successfully tested in Lincoln MKX and Ford Edge models in Ontario, Canada, whose production lines have been slated to be the first to use the new Wi-Fi- based technology. Other Ford manufacturing sites are scheduled to follow. The company has said it expects to save millions of dollars by using the new process.
Several other automotive makers have been using Wi-Fi to create hot spots from their cars; however, thus far no other car maker is known to be using Wi-Fi technology to help develop and customize cars in their plants.
Ford's Wi-Fi transmitters send software to cars to help with the set up of entertainment and data in vehicles. The transmission software also enables consumers to pick options ranging from entertainment attractions to power-seat performance.