SAN FRANCISCO, May 19 (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co said
on Friday it would delve into the growing arena of
“over-the-air” software updates, adding Android Auto and Apple
CarPlay to its Sync 3-equipped 2016 vehicles for the first time
via a wireless software update.
The latest upgrade to Sync 3, Ford’s interactive
touch-screen system, will be accomplished through an
over-the-air (OTA) update using Wi-Fi, not unlike how new
software gets uploaded to smartphones by manufacturers.
After Tesla Inc’s early lead in 2015 introducing
OTAs, traditional automakers are slowly beginning to embrace the
new technology, within limits. Concerns about security and
resistance from dealers worried about losing service revenue
have hampered its adoption.
Thus far, established automakers have not used OTAs for
safety systems, only for non-critical systems like infotainment.
Customers can also get the update via the traditional means
of visiting their dealer or using a USB drive, Ford said.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are operating systems from
Alphabet’s Google and Apple Inc that allow
drivers to connect their smartphones to their vehicles’
Ford’s first use of OTAs comes about two months after it
said it would hire 400 engineers to work on connectivity, mostly
from Blackberry Ltd’s shuttered phone handset business.
Blackberry QNX powers Ford’s Sync 3 system.
Besides being more convenient for customers, OTAs can bring
automakers cost savings, as a substantial percentage of warranty
repair issues and recalls can be corrected through OTAs.
(Reporting By Alexandria Sage; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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