Ford Begins Doing What Tesla Did Years Ago

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Ford's over-the-air updates are underway.

Ford is making some major leaps and bounds lately. One new piece of tech is BlueCruise, the hands-free driving system. Next week, the all-new 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning will debut. Today, the Blue Oval has revealed something else vital to its future. Introducing Ford Power-Up, the company's name for its over-the-air software updates. These updates actually got underway in March for more than 100,000 North American F-150 and Mustang Mach-E owners, and the goal is to launch 33 million vehicles with this capability by 2028.

The Bronco, Edge, and Escape will begin receiving updates this fall. Ford notes customers are unlikely to notice these updates, which are enabled by the SYNC4 system, are even happening. The system will keep the current software running normally until the updates are ready to go.

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Some of the more substantial updates do require system reboots (which can take as little as two minutes), but customers can schedule those to happen overnight or any other convenient time. Perhaps the most substantial thing to know today is that Ford and Alexa are expanding their partnership to integrate the latter into the vehicles' infotainment systems. This year alone the Alexa voice command functionality will roll out to 700,000 Fords in North America.

"Software updates are common across billions of connected devices but not yet for vehicles. Ford Power-Up software updates will change that by quickly bringing it to millions of people," says Alex Purdy, director of Ford's business operations for connectivity.

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Users will get three years of free functionality, but the cost to keep the subscription after that time period hasn't been determined. Some of the new enhancements owners will begin receiving in the coming weeks include navigation system and SYNC4 upgrades, a digital owner's manual, and Apple CarPlay compatibility improvements with turn-by-turn navigation in the instrument cluster. The Mach-E's infotainment system will also get a new app called Sketch for touchscreen drawing and even gaming.

Even though it's only been out for a short while, Blue Oval engineers have already used Ford Power-Up to sort out issues regarding the F-150's zone lighting and Android Auto connectivity, the latter affecting the Mach-E as well.

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