Ford Intros First Factory Car Computer
Ford recently introduced the first OEM car computer with broadband Internet and one of the first OEM car tracking systems in its F-series trucks and commercial E-series vans, Twice reports.
The computer and car-tracking system are part of a new Ford Work Solutions package to be available on 2009 F-150 Super Duty and E-series vans starting this fall. They are aimed at business users such as contractors who need access to office files or who require fleet-management tracking.
Ford’s in-dash computer is powered by Microsoft Auto and occupies the double-DIN slot for the radio. It includes a 6.5-inch touch-screen that the user can operate with a stylus. It has 2GB of memory, an SD slot for additional memory, a USB port and it includes a wireless keyboard and mouse. The computer also uses high speed Internet from Sprint and is Bluetooth ready for hands-free calling. It also has the ability to receive text messages via Bluetooth.
Ford said the computer will allow remote access to one’s office files. It will also include turn-by-turn navigation from Garmin, which will also supply real-time traffic and fuel-price listings. It will come with an inkjet printer that is Bluetooth ready and battery-powered.
The Work Solutions package also features Crew Chief vehicle tracking and diagnostics to track the location of fleet vehicles in real time. The data is linked to a Web-based application, which can be used by a fleet administrator. The system also interfaces with the vehicle’s network to monitor diagnostics, such a tire pressure and check engine-light codes, to help with fleet maintenance. It can also provide fuel calculations and fuel-tax reporting.
According to Twice, the Ford Work Solutions package will be available this fall on the new 2009 Ford F-150 XL, STX, XLT and FX4 trucks; F-series Super Duty XL, XLT and FX4 trucks; and all 2009 E-series vans. Transit Connect vans will be added in mid-2009. Eventually, some of the features will be available for dealer installation to upgrade existing Ford trucks.