Print 18 comment(s) - last by Lazarus Dark.. on Aug 29 at 2:34 PM

2011 Ford Edge Sport

2011 Ford Edge having its MyFord Touch software installed on the assembly line via Wi-Fi  (Source: Ford Motor Company)
Ford is doing away with waste by switching to a wireless delivery of infotainment software for its vehicles

Earlier this week, we brought you news concerning the launch MyFord Touch on the Ford Edge crossover utility vehicle. Today, we're learning about how Ford loads SYNC software (which forms the basis of MyFord Touch) onto vehicles.

Ford previously had to stock multiple SKUs for SYNC hardware modules dependent on vehicle model, trim level, and options installed. However, thanks to the help of new Wi-Fi capabilities, Ford has designed a single SYNC hardware module that can be reprogrammed as the vehicle is making its way down the assembly line.

It simple terms, Ford says that the vehicle sends its unique VIN wirelessly to an assembly line router. The router then communicates with a central software server which stores the MyFord Touch software necessary for that particular vehicle. The sever then sends the appropriate firmware (as much as 300MB) back to the router and down to the vehicle which programs the SYNC hardware module.

As a result, Ford says that it was able to "eliminate around 90 unique part numbers, each of which would have to be updated every time a change is made." In addition, cost savings are realized because Ford no longer has to assemble, stock, or store these additional parts thanks to the reprogrammable SYNC hardware module.

The Oakville, Ontario assembly plant, which produces the Ford Edge and the Lincoln MKX, will be the first of Ford's facilities to implement Wi-Fi installation of MyFord Touch software.

"Employees at the Oakville assembly plant helped us tremendously in getting the Wi-Fi process to work, and work perfectly,” said Sukhwinder Wadhwa, SYNC global platform manager. “Turning an assembly plant – with steel beams everywhere and high-voltage cabling throughout; everything you could imagine that would interfere with a radio signal – into an access point that would achieve 100 percent success was a huge challenge."

Once everything is up and running with Wi-Fi software installations on the Edge/MKX assembly lines, Ford will begin introducing the process to the production of the 2011 Ford Explorer and the 2012 Ford Focus.

While it's great to see Wi-Fi being used to help simplify the assembly process of vehicle, we can't help but wonder how easy it would be to “reprogram” the SYNC hardware module once the vehicle leaves the dealer lot and makes its way to the customer's driveway.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Good idea
By DigitalFreak on 8/27/2010 3:32:16 PM , Rating: 2
I would imagine the WiFi receiver is turned off after the load.

RE: Good idea
By QuimaxW on 8/27/2010 11:04:17 PM , Rating: 2
Just because the WiFi is turned off, doesn't mean it can't be turned back on. Thankfully, if it's off, one won't be able to reprogram other people's cars as they drive by.

Since the thing is 'reprogramable' one could convievably use the thing for whatever once it's discovered how to reprogram it. Envision a "Ford Sync" app aftermarket, akin to the iPhone.

Or and "Ford Sync, powered by Android."

I'm thinking, I turn the wireless back on so I can sync my car's music with my computer in the house without actually carrying anything out to the car. :)

RE: Good idea
By Motoman on 8/28/2010 3:49:32 PM , Rating: 4
Just think of the fun things you could do to someone's care if you hacked in via the WiFi to "update" their system...

Owner: "Synch from Zune"

Car: "I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that."

Owner: "...who's Dave?"

RE: Good idea
By alanore on 8/28/2010 7:21:25 AM , Rating: 2
It maybe that the SYNC software is installed on to P-ROM so you can only program it once.

RE: Good idea
By ekv on 8/28/2010 12:37:39 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt it. Besides, what if Ford determines "we found a couple minor bugs in our software, you need to go to your dealer to get an update". That means WiFi is either still active or CAN be activated. [It would be expensive to have to pull the ecu just to do a software update, which is what Ford is trying to avoid in the first place].

If WiFi can be activated ... drive-by re-programming? Yikes.

RE: Good idea
By Targon on 8/29/2010 7:54:00 AM , Rating: 2
It could also be as simple as removing the WiFi receiver or antenna after programming. A properly authorized dealer may have the equipment to do software updates, but it may not be something that will be possible. There may also be a way to do a physical connection to do the software, and the wireless programming method MAY just be to streamline the assembly process.

Remember, the more unique or limited-use parts in an assembly process, the more expensive those PARTS are. By doing to this method of using only one set that is used for all vehicles, it reduces costs, which in turn MAY help reduce the price they charge for features.

Think about it, why should a feature that is in EVERY car made just as expensive NOW as it was when the feature was new and very limited in deployment? Shouldn't there be economies of scale to make these things cost less?

RE: Good idea
By Lazarus Dark on 8/29/2010 2:34:27 PM , Rating: 2
I would hope they leave the wifi on and do more with it. While I despise proprietary OS's like SYNC, it wouldn't be so bad if it could automatically connect to my Droid wifi when I get in the car and share the music collection on my Droid, or even use the wifi tethering to get internet from my Droid over Verizon. If its got the wifi, they may as well make further use of it, could be another selling point.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
Snapchat’s New Sunglasses are a Spectacle – No Pun Intended
September 24, 2016, 9:02 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki