Ford plans over-the-air tech upgrades to tens of millions of automobiles — like Tesla
The brand new expertise would create a large international fleet that will gather information on tens of millions of shoppers and business clients, giving the automaker entry to profitable new markets and potential streams of income.
“We imagine that information is the brand new oil,” mentioned Alex Purdy, director of enterprise operations, enterprise connectivity for Ford’s enterprise connectivity unit. “It allows us to have an always-on relationship with our buyer.”
Ford is looking its new over-the-air replace functionality “Energy-Up,” highlighting its potential to reinforce and improve a car nicely into its lifecycle.
Tesla in 2012 turned the primary automaker to make the most of OTA for vital upgrades corresponding to driving traits. Different automakers corresponding to Basic Motors have used distant updates for navigation or infotainment methods however have solely not too long ago began launching automobiles that may obtain extra vital upgrades.
“It is a whole reversal of the possession mannequin, the place automobiles simply used to grow old,” Purdy mentioned. “Now, Fords will get higher over time.”
Ford mentioned it has already despatched OTA updates to greater than 100,000 F-150 pickups and Mustang Mach-E clients since late March. An replace to the F-150 for a battery drainage situation saved Ford greater than $20 million in guarantee prices, in keeping with the corporate.
“That is extremely transformative,” mentioned Aziz Makkiya, supervisor of software program updates for Ford’s enterprise connectivity unit. “The sky is the restrict as we’ve extra inhabitants of automobiles which might be able to this new expertise.”
Officers mentioned OTA capabilities will finally be obtainable throughout Ford’s car lineup because it releases new automobiles and vehicles with extra succesful electrical methods and parts that may deal with the updates. The subsequent car to function OTA updates is the upcoming Bronco SUV, in keeping with the corporate.
One of many subsequent updates might be a drawing pad and kid-friendly video games for the touchscreen of the Mach-E, in keeping with Ford. It expects to ship out an replace this fall to incorporate Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant for inside their automobiles within the U.S. and Canada.
Extra considerably, Ford plans to replace automobiles such because the F-150 and Mach-E remotely later this 12 months to allow a brand new hands-free driving system for highways.
Ford CEO Jim Farley has touted information analytics and car connectivity as necessary alternatives for the automaker, particularly for its worthwhile business enterprise clients and EV consumers.
“These are progress initiatives that I imagine aren’t within the inventory value right now,” he beforehand instructed CNBC. “Not that that is the one factor that is necessary, however they’re progress initiatives that would actually add great worth.”
Since Farley turned CEO in October, shares of Ford are up by about 70%. That features a roughly 30% enhance in 2021. The automaker’s market worth is $44 billion.