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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.





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