It’s becoming a wireless world, so why not the vehicle assembly line as well.
Ford says it is the first automaker to use Wi-Fi to send software to vehicles along an assembly line. The automaker is sending infotainment software to Wi-Fi-enabled MYFord Touch-equipped vehicles.
Ford installed the Wi-Fi equipment at its Oakville, Ontario, plant where it builds the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, both of which were refreshed for 2011. Next up for Wi-Fi updates will be the upcoming Ford Explorer, built in Chicago, and then plants that build the Focus around the world.
Wi-Fi capability eliminates the need for building, stocking multiple SYNC hardware modules, thus reducing manufacturing complexity and saving cost.
“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,” explained Sukhwinder Wadhwa, SYNC global platform manager. “We eliminate around 90 unique part numbers, each of which would have to be updated every time a change is made – this system really boosts quality control.”
But turning a factory into a Wi-Fi hot spot was not easy.